The Soccer Desk

First Half Firepower: Crew Bury D.C. United 3-0

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After a scoreboard fire at Crew Stadium threatened to postpone Saturday night’s match, the Columbus Crew responded with some offensive firepower of their own to bury D.C. United 3-0.

Dominic Oduro, Joshua Williams, and Federico Higuain all bagged first half goals to hand slumping United their fifth consecutive loss and second defeat at the hands of the Crew this season.

United’s defensive woes carried over from last Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Union, a game in which D.C. allowed three goals inside the opening 26 minutes. This time, Dominic Oduro opened the scoring in the 15th minute after another pair of defensive mistakes. Jairo Arrieta controlled a cross into the box, beat Brandon McDonald to the touchline, and set up Oduro for a simple tap-in to give the Crew a 1-0 lead.

The visitors managed to possess the ball and create a few chances after the early goal, and they should have gone level in the 23rd minute. Perry Kitchen headed home a cross from Chris Korb but the goal was called back for offsides; unluckily, Kitchen was actually level while three United players not involved in the play had strayed behind the backline. [Edit: Kitchen was apparently whistled for a foul, not offsides.]

Three minutes later, the Crew stifled United’s new-found momentum with a goal from Joshua Williams. The defender met Federico Higuain’s cross and snuck a shot past Bill Hamid for the Crew’s second goal of the game and his second goal of the season.

Even with a positive response to Williams’ strike, including a Kyle Porter effort that struck the post, things would only get worse for D.C. on the stroke of halftime. Exposed once again, McDonald bundled over Arietta in the box and Higuain tucked away the resulting penalty kick for a 3-0 lead.

In the second half, United dominated the run of play but still couldn’t find their first away goal of the season. Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy, and Marcos Sanchez all had great chances but failed to capitalize—Sanchez, who was clean though on goal in the 84th minute, probably should have scored. Pajoy also rattled a free kick off the bar in the dying moments of the game, another indication that it was not United’s night in Columbus.

In surreal scenes, the Crew scoreboard catches on fire before the match, delaying the game by nearly an hour. (Cincinnati.com)

In surreal scenes, the Crew scoreboard catches on fire before the match. The delay would push back the kick-off nearly an hour. (Cincinnati.com)

The Crew will be pleased with their solid defensive performance and three well-taken first half goals. With only two first half goals through their first seven games, early scores had been a rarity for the home side before facing D.C. Columbus now moves up to fifth place in the East and will look to continue their success when they host the New York Red Bulls in a week’s time.

Meanwhile, United manager Ben Olsen will be left scratching his head after this defeat. For all of D.C.’s good offensive work, the backline let them down once again; however, it was United’s defense that carried the team through the season’s earlier matches while the offense sputtered. Either way, United still sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and face a difficult home game against the Houston Dynamo on May 8th.

While United fans will want to put tonight’s match behind them, the game will be remembered for a scoreboard fire that delayed the match for nearly an hour. The Columbus Fire Department immediately responded to the fire and there were no injuries. The Crew also issued an official statement on the pre-match fire and response from the authorities.