COLUMBUS – Andrés Mendoza scored twice and Emmanuel Ekpo had the equalizer as the Columbus Crew rallied from a goal down three separate times for a wild 3-3 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
In a matchup of two of the league's lowest-scoring teams – Chivas had been blanked five times and the Crew four this season – Ekpo tied the match for the Crew in the 64th minute with his first goal since May 9, 2009.
A shot from well outside the penalty area by Eddie Gaven went off a Chivas player and into the air to the left of the goal. Ekpo waited for the ball to come down as he posted on defender Zarek Valentin, then settled the ball on his right foot, turned and fired into the left corner of the goal for the final score of a seesaw matchup.
Columbus had one final chance to win the game in the 90th minute, but Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic cleared Jeff Cunningham’s header from the goal line, the second such save for the defender in the game.
The Crew (3-3-5) played more than 20 minutes down the stretch with the advantage after Chivas USA's Jorge Flores received a second yellow after a hard challenge on Gaven, but they settled for a draw that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Flores scored in the 57th minute to give Chivas USA their third lead of the night, but the Goats (3-4-4) also settled for a draw on a rare night of defensive miscues. Flores scored after he outpaced the Crew on the left side after a defense-splitting pass from Ben Zemanski.
It was an active second half for Flores, who could have increased a 2-1 halftime lead, except his shot in the 49th minute hit the right post.
The play came back to haunt Chivas, because Mendoza made it 2-2 in the 52nd when he gladly took a midfield turnover by Simon Elliott and scored from 18 yards.
Chivas USA defender Andrew Boyens, in his farewell game before joining New Zealand for international friendlies, broke a lively 1-1 tie with a goal from a Chivas corner kick in the 37th minute. Heath Pearce delivered the ball from the right toward the 6-yard box, where Boyens got between the Crew’s tallest players – Chad Marshall and Tommy Heinemann - for a powerful header. The Crew have now allowed a restart goal in three straight games.
Nick LaBrocca scored for Chivas USA in the 4th minute off an assist from Justin Braun, but the Crew got the leveler from Mendoza 13 minutes later on their first goal of the first half this season and their first goal in 220 minutes of play. Ekpo earned the assist after a nice run down the center of the field, and a nifty feed to Mendoza. The goal was the first for a Crew player other than forward Emilio Rentería - who skipped the match with an injury - since Robbie Rogers scored on April 16.
The Crew return to action on the road against the New York Red Bulls on June 4, while Chivas USA host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.
CHV -- Nick LaBrocca 2 (Justin Braun 1, Simon Elliott 1) 4
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 2 (Emmanuel Ekpo 1) 17
CHV -- Andrew Boyens 1 (Heath Pearce 3) 37
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 3 (unassisted) 52
CHV -- Jorge Flores 1 (Ben Zemanski 2, Ante Jazic 3) 57
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo 1 (unassisted) 64
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Andrew Boyens, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Ben Zemanski, Simon Elliott (Gerson Mayen 89), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun (Chris Cortez 89), Alejandro Moreno (Francisco Mendoza 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Estupinan, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana, Zach Thornton.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Justin Braun 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Andrew Boyens 2); FOULS: 9 (Jorge Flores 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5 (Heath Pearce 5); SAVES: 4 (Dan Kennedy 4)
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan, Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven (Andy Iro 89), Emmanuel Ekpo, Josh Gardner, Andres Mendoza (Jeff Cunningham 71), Tommy Heinemann (Justin Meram 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Burns, Shaun Francis, Dejan Rusmir, Andy Gruenebaum.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Emmanuel Ekpo 4, Andres Mendoza 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Tommy Heinemann 3, Andres Mendoza 3); FOULS: 9 (Eddie Gaven 2); OFFSIDES: 7 (Tommy Heinemann 5); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Josh Gardner 2); SAVES: 3 (William Hesmer 3)
CHV -- Jorge Flores (caution; Reckless Tackle) 21
CHV -- Heath Pearce (caution; Reckless Foul) 46
CHV -- Jorge Flores (caution; Reckless Foul) 69
CHV -- Jorge Flores (ejection; Second Caution) 69
Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee's Assistants: -Corey Rockwell; Corey Parker
4th Official: Chris Penso
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-76-degrees