Ten minutes after the halftime break in the Columbus Crew victory against D.C. United on Saturday, Frankie Hejduk found himself in the box, waiting on a cross. Then, Hejduk decided to attempt the most difficult of finishes -- the bicycle kick.
"I saw all of the glory in front of me, but it didn't happen," said the Crew midfielder.
His attempt ended with a couple different outcomes than the glory for which he had hoped. First, his shot looped into the arms of United goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Hejduk was unaware of this fact ("I don't even know if I hit the ball," he said). Secondly, he sustained cuts to his lips and forehead. "I paid for it. If I had scored, it would have been great," said the U.S. international.
The lacerations caused by his attacking effort caused him to be taken out of the game.
"The bleeding wouldn't stop so the ref made me come out," said Hejduk. "I am a defender -- I shouldn't be doing that stuff."
Thus Crew coach Greg Andrulis was forced to make an unexpected change for Hejduk. "He was obviously injured. His teeth had punctured the skin and he had a cut on his face," said Andrulis. "We weren't going to be able to stop it from bleeding."
Andrulis strayed from his substitution pattern, bringing on Jeff Cunningham to go with a three-pronged attack despite the one-goal lead though the Crew were up a man. Cunningham joined Kyle Martino and Edson Buddle on the field for the first time since Martino switched to his withdrawn striker role.
"We tried to chance the rhythm of the game a little bit with three forwards and try to get them (D.C.) backed up," said Andrulis. "I think it did change momentum for a little while, but then we slipped Kyle back in behind."
The combination led to several great scoring chances, perhaps the best by Martino, but was unable to find the net while on the counter as United pushed forward to find the equalizer.
Martino broke free from the United defense and rounded Rimando, but then encountered trouble after there was no one to stop him, and hurried an off-balance strike off the post. Cunningham had a couple more great scoring chances as the time dwindled, but he also was unable to finish off United.
"The guys had four breakaways and on any given night more then zero are going to go in," said Andrulis.
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.