COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dominic Oduro came to the rescue of the Columbus Crew with a pinpoint strike to deny the Philadelphia Union their first victory at Crew Stadium, as the two Eastern Conference foes settled for a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Oduro tied the score in the 72nd minute with a heavy ball from a tough angle that snuck in between the near post and Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. Eddie Gaven sprung Oduro with a pass off the outside of his right foot and that enabled the speedy Ghanaian to get into space past the Union defenders, who had seen Columbus waste a number of quality chances in the first half.
The Union (2-2-1) took the lead in the 34th minute on the third goal of the season by Jack McInerney and secured their first point in four matches in Columbus. The Crew (2-1-2) have now tied in both of their home games this season and were able to extend their unbeaten streak at Crew Stadium over the last two years to 11 (7-0-4) thanks in large part to Oduro, who had missed a golden chance to pull the hosts level late in the first half.
It was expected that forward Jairo Arrieta would regain his starting spot after recently returning from international duty with Costa Rica and that either Oduro or Ben Speas would make way for him in the Crew lineup. But Oduro earned the nod over Arrieta, who entered the game at the start of the second half while Oduro moved to the right flank.
After Oduro's goal, each team saw shots denied by the crossbar. First, it was Philadelphia's Antoine Hoppenot in the 79th minute with a shot from 18 yards and three minutes later Josh Williams' looping header was denied by the woodwork.
In the first half, McInerney had been probing the Crew defense and got behind with the ball several times before opening the scoring in the 34th. Danny Cruz made a well-timed run down the right sideline before squaring a pass to McInerney for the easy tap-in.
The Union pressed for a another marker in similar fashion in the 44th minute but this time a cross from Cruz to an unmarked Conor Casey at the penalty spot was poorly struck over the bar, which gave the Crew a lifeline that they took full advantage courtesy of Oduro's hard shot in the second half.
Columbus next travel to Montreal on April 13, while Philadelphia host Toronto that same afternoon.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dominic Oduro (CLB)||Made amends for his first-half miss by rifling in the equalizer and was one of the more active players in the Crew's relentless attack.|
|2||Amobi Okugo (PHI)||The Union center back had another strong game, breaking up several attacks and coming close to scoring on two occasions.|
|3||Danny Cruz (PHI)||Set up the Union's goal, should have had another assist and his workrate was tremendous in helping Philadelphia absorb pressure.|