A pair of first-half goals, courtesy of Gyasi Zardes and Eduardo Sosa, allowed Columbus Crew SC to snap a five-match winless streak, earning a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium.
Columbus got on the scoreboard almost immediately. In the 4th minute, on a corner kick, Luis Argudo drew a Danilo Acosta foul, and Zardes stepped up to bury the PK for his 11th goal of the year. In the 23rd minute, Columbus doubled their lead when Sosa scored in his first start for the squad, set up nicely by a flanking Pedro Santos.
After getting off only three shots in the first half — all outside the 18 — Real Salt Lake looked more threatening in the second half, getting several chances on frame before Albert Rusnak broke through in the 74th minute to provide some measure of hope. Though Crew SC lost the clean sheet, they were able to close out the match — including nine minutes of second-half stoppage time — without giving up an equalizer.
Despite the outcome, the visitors did celebrate one notable milestone — Captain Kyle Beckerman started his 300th match for RSL, the most with one franchise for any non-goalkeeper in MLS history.
- 6' – CLB – Gyasi Zardes (PK) | WATCH
- 23' – CLB – Eduardo Sosa | WATCH
- 74' – RSL – Albert Rusnak | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Columbus needed to turn their winless streak around, and did so in solid (if not totally emphatic) fashion at home. The win puts them third in the East – and no worse than fourth pending Sunday's showdown between Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls. RSL, meanwhile, dropped to 1-7-1 on the road, though their 6-1-1 home record is keeping them in the playoff picture.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The Sosa goal was a thing of beauty in a match that was a bit wanting for beautiful moments – and more importantly, it put pressure on a visiting squad already a bit shell-shocked from the early PK.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Wil Trapp deserves some laurels for the work he put in, Sosa gets the kudos here for stepping up in his first start, scoring the decisive goal and filling a Federico Higuain-sized hole in the midfield before giving way for a late defensive sub.