The San Jose Earthquakes have not had much success when they visit the Columbus Crew. And after a late second-half goal by the Crew on Saturday afternoon, things weren’t looking good for the reigning MLS Supporters’ Shield winners.
But, as it has become customary for this nucleus of Earthquakes players, a never-say-die attitude saw them through.
Trailing 1-0 in the 73rd minute, Ohio native Justin Morrow slammed home a shot from distance to equalize the match, and helped his Earthquakes steal a point on the road with a 1-1 draw.
“It was an incredible feeling,” Morrow said. “It’s unbelievable to come back [home] and play in front of my family; it was a dream come true to score a goal.”
Earthquakes captain Ramiro Corrales found Morrow on the left wing, up from him defensive position. After a couple touches toward the box, he unloaded a shot that beat an outstretched Andy Gruenebaum to the far post.
“The coaches have been stressing me to go forward,” Morrow said, whose tally was just the second of his career.
In the first half, Morrow was set up similarly, but elected to cross one into the box. On his second opportunity, he went for goal.
“I looked up and decided to shoot it last minute,” he said. “I think I threw [Gruenebaum] off.”
In 17 matches heading into Saturday’s tilt, the Earthquakes bolstered a less-than-stellar 3-12-2 record. That didn’t dampen the spirit of the club, however. Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop felt his club had the upper hand most of the match.
“We played excellent tonight,” Yallop said. “We really should have gotten three points.”
Although the Quakes didn’t dominate the possession for the match – 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent in favor of the Crew – they did control the number of chances.
The offensive frustration piqued in the 66th minute when 2012 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski got inside the box with a prime chance of putting his side on top, but had two shots blocked by Crew defenders.
Two minutes later, Federico Higuain hooked up with Gláuber on a corner kick to put the Crew on top.
“We were playing well up to that point. That goal came out of the blue,” Yallop said.
Outside of that set piece, though, the defensive pressure threw off the Crew offensive unit.
“We pride ourselves on playing a pressure game, and work hard to win the ball back. It worked really well tonight,” Yallop said. “Our defense kept them on their heels most of the night. They did a great job except on one play.”
After dropping their home opener to Real Salt Lake on March 3, the Earthquakes have followed up with two come-from-behind efforts, beating New York at home, 2-1, last week, and tonight’s draw in the Crew’s home opener.
“The boys in front of me did a very good job tonight,” said goalkeeper Jon Busch. “Our confidence is building,”