COLUMBUS, Ohio – Last-minute starter Matt Lampson looked around Crew Stadium as his Columbus teammates battled the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon and it was like deja-vu for him.
"It felt like an Ohio State-Akron game," the former Buckeye goalkeeper said of the in-state rival.
No wonder. On the Timbers' sideline was first-year coach Caleb Porter on his first trip to Ohio since leaving the University of Akron and taking over the Timbers.
Meanwhile, Konrad Warzycha, another Ohio State product, got his first MLS start for the Crew.
Score one for the Buckeyes.
In fact, the 1-0 result in favor of the Crew was due in large measure to the huge save Lampson made on one-time Zips forward Darlington Nagbe in the 87th minute (WATCH THE PLAY HERE).
Nagbe had settled the ball 25 yards off goal and ripped a shot from the left side that was headed for the upper right 90 before Lampson, who found out an hour before the match he was starting for the injured Andy Gruenebaum (shoulder), got his mitts on the ball.
It was his only save of the match as the Timbers (7-2-9) played down a man for 79 minutes after Pa-Modou Kah took a red card.
"That was a huge save," Crew defender Chad Marshall said. "It's tough when you’ve not seen much action in the game. To be able to keep focused and make that save late in the game, that's a credit to him."
Lampson, in his fourth career appearance and second start, got his first MLS shutout by stoning Nagbe, a player he had faced several times in college.
"It's the biggest save I've had so far in my career because it helped us get three points," Lampson said.
The win ended a three-match losing streak for the Crew (6-8-5), who got a fifth-minute goal by Bernardo Añor and made it stand.
Craig Merz covers the Columbus Crew for MLSsoccer.com.