The Columbus Crew Revive Playoff Chances Defeating the Red Hot Portland Timbers

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus needed a win, they got one against one of the best teams in the league.

Columbus needed a result, the Timbers hadn't lost since March 9th. The Crew were on short rest and Portland had two weeks between their last league game. Much like the Montreal match, this one looked a tall order to see the home team get three points. However, much like Montreal, the Black and Gold got the job done.

The Crew got another early goal when Columbus pressed and got an early corner kick. Federico Higuain bent in a superb ball that Bernardo Anor snapped into the back of the net to put the Black and Gold up 1-0 in the 5th minute.

Columbus had a golden opportunity to grab another goal in the 11th minute when Aaron Schoenfeld pushed into the penalty box. Timbers center back Pa-Modou Kah jumped up to kick the ball, but caught Schoenfeld in the head. Referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed and sent off Kah. Higuain then missed his second penalty of the year when he pushed the ball wide.

The Timbers and the Crew settled in after the red card. Portland controlled possession. Portland held the ball 57% of the time even though they were down a man since the 11th minute. Even with the lions share of the possession they failed to force Matt Lampson into a save.

The visitors turned up the pressure in the second half in an attempt to get the tying goal. Portland's Andrew Jean-Baptiste nearly evened the score in the 55th minute when his header rung off the upright and when out for a goal kick.

With the Timbers pressing, the Crew found several chance Oduro would nearly put the Crew up two in the 66th minute with an excellent breakout, but his cut back shot went past the far post. Columbus almost struck in the 75th when Higuain curled a floating cross that Ethan Finlay headed toads the top of the goal, but Donovan Ricketts was able to tip the ball over.

The Timbers would have a couple late chances to force the tie. Darlington Nagbe unleashed a driving shot that forced a diving save from Lampson in the 89th minute. Futty Danso would get to the end of a Diego Valeri cross, but used his hand to try to score.

Columbus would record the 1-0 result and push their record to 6-8-5 and put themselves back into the playoff hunt and are only three points behind Houston for the last playoff spot. The Crew have played one more game than the Dynamo in fifth and two more than both New England and Chicago, who they are chasing.

The team now has a two week break in league play during the Gold Cup before taking on New England on July 20th. The Crew will stay busy. The reserve team will play the Dayton Dutch Lions on Wednesday at 7:30pm at Columbus Crew Stadium and the team will host English Championship team Wigan Athletic in a friendly next Saturday at 7:30pm.

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