COMMERCE CITY, CO - MARCH 10: Chad Marshall #14 and Olman Vargas #17 of the Columbus Crew react after goalkeeper Matt Pickens #18 of the Colorado Rapids made a save at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 10, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated the Crew 2-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
It didn't start out like we all wanted it to.
The Crew's 2012 season opened up with a 2-0 loss away from home against the Colorado Rapids. Defender Drew Moor and substitute Quincy Amarikwa scored for the Rapids.
Columbus started the game in a 4-5-1 formation. The starters were (G) Andy Gruenebaum; (D) Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Shaun Francis; (M) Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani, Kirk Urso, Milovan Mirosevic, Dilly Duka; (F) Emilio Renteria.
Crew fans already had to start worrying about ten seconds into the game. Shaun Francis and Chad Marshall both challenged for a ball in the air, banging heads along the way. Marshall, already suffering from a long history of concussions, is likely only one more bad head injury away from a forced early retirement. However, luckily for all parties involved, Marshall quickly returned to the field with no obvious effects of the collision.
The bad news continued for Columbus in the 12th minute, as Dilly Duka had to be substituted after picking up a hamstring injury during an attempted tackle. Rookie Ethan Finlay came on in relief of Duka, making a positive impact throughout the game and even forcing a tough save from Colorado goalie Matt Pickens.
More after the jump...
The first real opportunity of the game came in the 19th minute. Rookie Kirk Urso, starting in his first ever MLS appearance, made a bad back pass to Chad Marshall which was intercepted by Rapids forward Omar Cummings. Cummings dribbled into the box, but goalie Andy Gruenebuam successfully came off his line and made a nice save to keep the game goalless.
Right before the half, Colorado took the lead. Gruenebaum wasn't able to claim a deep cross, instead knocking the ball out for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner, Columbus cleared the ball, but it feel to Rapids right back Kosuke Kimura. Kimura served in a cross that found Drew Moor, whose header went flying over Gruenebaum's hands and into the net.
Columbus' best chance in the game came in the 78th minute. Chad Marshall got on the end of a Kirk Urso free kick, but Pickens was able to make a flying save, tipping the ball over the crossbar.
The Crew showed a little more fight toward the end of the game, but the Rapids were able to wrap it all up in the 89th minute. Kimura penetrated Columbus' defense before finding Quincy Amarikwa. Amarikwa dribbled toward the middle of the top of the box and unleashed a right-footed shot that flew straight into the top-left corner of the goal.
And with that, Columbus started the new season where the last one ended: a loss in Colorado.