COLUMBUS – After weeks of bad breaks, the Columbus Crew received a stroke of luck for a change early on in Saturday's match against the visiting Montreal Impact.
A shot by Matias Sanchez took a deflection off Impact defender Jeb Brovsky and found its way past Montreal 'keeper Troy Perkins in the 6th minute, and just like that the gloom that had recently permeated the Crew evaporated with the unlikely goal.
"It lifted the team's spirits," Columbus forward Dominic Oduro said following the 2-0 win that snapped a three-game winless streak for the Crew (5-5-5, 20 points).
Fortunate bounces like those had been missing during a 1-3-2 stretch, particularly in the last MLS match on June 5 in Philadelphia when a similar deflection led to the first of three Union goals in six minutes for a 3-0 win.
That was followed by the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup disaster when Wednesday's scheduled match in Chicago was delayed a day due to weather. When it was played Thursday, central defender Glauber suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee, the same injury that felled midfielder Eddie Gaven for the season in an Open Cup match on May 29.
Enter Sanchez, the Argentinean who netted his first goal in his 10th MLS game.
"I told him, 'In times like this, when injuries happen and we've lost two leaders that the younger guys look up to, you have to create your own luck,'" defender Josh Williams said.
Sanchez says he was just in the right place at the right time to receive the ball after Oduro had been fouled. But the referee allowed for the advantage and Sanchez capitalized.
"We were very compact so we win the ball," Sanchez said. "When Dom [Oduro] give the ball to me, I shoot. I don’t know who it went off, but I'm very happy."
Oduro, who came to the Crew in a trade with Chicago in February, picked up his first Crew assist on the play. He then added his team-best seventh goal in the 22nd minute after stealing the ball from Impact midfielder Collen Warner.
"The guy underestimated my speed," Oduro said. "I was able to take the ball away from him and there was nothing but net for me to put the ball away."
Craig Merz covers the Columbus Crew for MLSsoccer.com.