There's something about playing in Toronto. The Crew always struggle to play in the high wind and difficult conditions. The games are always ugly and often end in a tie. The team's record before Saturday's game was 1-0-5. However, for the first time since 2007, the Crew went to BMO field and got three points in a 1-0 win.
While Milovan Mirosevic got off the first chance of the game in the fourth minute, Toronto started stronger. The home team controlled the tempo and held much of the possession. Columbus seemed content to wait for chances to counterattack.
Toronto had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 9th minute when Ashtone Morgan chipped in a cross that was intercepted by Kirk Urso. Urso's misplayed clearance dropped straight to Danny Koevermans. Koevermans then mishit his shot and Andy Gruenebaum easily saved the chance.
The game settled into a midfield battle. Neither team was able to create much until the Crew would get a break in the 41st minute when they would get a chance to take the lead.
Urso's free kick found Logan Emory. Emory's clearance only got so far as Bernardo Anor. Anor headed the ball to the right of goal and as Olman Vargas tracked it down, Ty Harden tried to tackle, but fouled Vargas in the process. Mirosevic's confident penalty was well saved by Milos Kosic to keep the game scoreless.
Five minutes later Shaun Francis would get one final chance before the end of the half. He raced down the left and fired of a blazing shot that missed just high.
Five minutes after the break Toronto got a chance to catch the Crew on the break. Joao Plata found Luis Silva on the run. Silva drove up the field and found Koevermans. The Dutchman's quick shot was smothered by Gruenebaum.
The Crew would finally got the breakthrough in the 55th minute. Mirosevic's inch perfect slide tackle popped the ball free to Anor. Anor would run the length of the field unopposed before playing a one-two pass between him and Vargas. The return pass ricochet to Emory, but his clearance fell right to Anor, who settled and fired past Kosic to give the Crew the all important goal.
The Crew would nearly double the lead 10 minutes later as Eddie Gaven would pick up a loose ball and race into the final third. He dropped off a pass to the right to Emilio Renteria. Renteria's long range shot went just wide left, nearly hitting the post.
Toronto would try and keep the pressure up in search of a tying goal that wouldn't come. The best chance came in the 70th minute as Plata would thread a through ball to Koevermans. Gruenebaum would act quickly and cut down the angle and make the save.
While Toronto had a lot of possession they weren't able to break down the stout Columbus defense. Gruenebaum controlled the 18 yard box. Surprise starter Eric Gehrig was masterful next to Chad Marshall in the heart of the defense. The 2nd year center back had timely blocks, clearances, and headers that killed many Toronto attacks.
The Crew defense as a unit had excellent games. They faced 31 crosses, 14 shots, and spent much of the 2nd half in their own end. They yielded only a few good chances for the home team.
Coach Warzycha's counterattacking game plan also worked as well as hoped. They absorbed the pressure from the attack minded Reds and then hit them on the counter. The Black and Gold were dangerous throughout the game on the break.
The Crew are now 2-1-0 on the year and have 6 points through three games. They return home to Crew Stadium, to face the New York Red Bulls next Saturday at 3pm.