D.C. United made the first road trip of the season to play Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field. Unfortunately, the Black-and-Red walked away empty-handed, losing 2-0 and giving Columbus all three points on “Crewmas.”
Columbus opened the match, buzzing off the energy of a buoyant sold-out home crowd. The clock had barely passed the 10′ when Lucas Zelarayán struck gold, capturing the ball from Cucho Hernández in the center of the box. With a quick turn, Zelarayán whipped his shot past Tyler Miller to score his first goal of the game.
Miller stepped up for D.C. United, saving a dangerous attempt by Alexandru Matan in the 34′ and giving the Black-and-Red an opportunity to turn over and mount an attack.
Christian Benteke worked his way through traffic to find a position right in front of Eloy Room in the 36′. A smart cross by Chris Durkin found Benteke waiting and had Black-and-Red supporters about to jump out of their seats. Unfortunately, his headed shot ended up over the crossbar rather than crashing into the net behind Room. Benteke found another opportunity a few minutes later but missed his attempt, the shot going wide and to the right.
Zelarayán made it a brace in the 44′, putting the Crew up 2-0. Taking advantage of a through ball by Matan, Zelarayán easily slipped behind the Black-and-Red’s back line to double the home team’s lead. D.C. head coach Wayne Rooney said, “I thought it was a tight game, but they were better and more clinical in the final third.”
Wilfried Nancy could be seen beaming from ear to ear on the sideline as it became increasingly clear that three points were in the Crew’s grasp. Nancy is still looking for improvement from his side. He said, “We struggled a bit at certain moments today. Yes, we won, but I would have preferred we have better control of the game at certain moments. So, this is something that we have to be a little bit better. Like I told you, the emotional control for me is really important. And today, we rushed the play when it was the moment to keep, to manipulate a little bit more the opposition.”
As the final whistle blew, the stadium exploded in cheers from the Columbus faithful, and new D.C. signing Pedro Santos could be seen hugging his former teammates.
Ultimately, the final score never tells the whole story of a match. Rooney remarked, “As I said, I think the performance wasn’t as bad as the result. Of course, we have to keep working, and as I said last week, we’re gonna lose games in this league. We know that, but we have to make sure we don’t give up opportunities or concede goals so easily. So that’s the challenge for us, and we have to be more clinical. I think we did okay; two, three, four really good chances, right? And we have to make sure we take them chances.”
D.C. United returns home to face Orlando City SC at Audi Field on March 11 at 7:30 pm ET.
- Keep it clinical. The Black-and-Red certainly weren’t short on chances but were missing a bit of clinical finishing in the final third against the Crew. We look forward to the team coalescing and capitalizing on more of their chances as the season progresses.
- Mentality matters. Despite going down two goals, the Black-and-Red played the match through to the end, a refreshing change of pace since Rooney has taken the helm.
- Miller keeps it respectable. Tyler Miller shielded D.C. United from some very dangerous shots by a fiery Columbus. Once again, we’re thankful to have him between the sticks.
MLS Regular Season – Game 2
Columbus Crew: 2 Zelarayán (10′ and 44′)
D.C. United: 0
Columbus Crew: Eloy Room, Philip Quinton, Milos Degenek, Mohamed Farsi, Steven Moreira, Darlington Nagbe, Aidan Morris, Lucas Zelarayán (Sean Zawadzki 90’+1′), Cucho Hernandez, Yaw Yeboah (Luis Díaz 75′), Alexandru Matan (Kevin Molino 81′)
D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Mohanad Jeahze (Derrick Williams 85′), Pedro Santos (Jackson Hopkins 62′), Andy Nájar, Steven Birnbaum, Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin (Ted Ku-DiPietro 62′), Mateusz Klich, Victor Pálsson, Nigel Robertha (Yamil Asad 80′), Christian Benteke
Columbus Crew: Yeboah 65′
D.C. United: Najar 59′, Klich 84′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United, Hannah Wagner