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Columbus Crew Earn Road Draw Before World Cup Break

In a game that saw very little attractive soccer, the Crew were able to steal a point on the road thanks to their goalkeeper.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In a game with few clear cut chances. It came down to one. Fabian Espindola had the opportunity to give D.C. United the full three points in second half stoppage time against the Columbus Crew from the penalty spot, but was denied by Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark.

The United forward, who has seven goals on the season, was given the chance after left back Bernardo Anor was judged to have handled a bouncing ball inside the 18-yard box. Espindola stepped up confidently, but may have been too confident, electing to go down the middle and into the waiting arms of the Columbus netminder.

The chances came few and far between in a 0-0 draw between two teams that looked more interested in getting to their World Cup break than winning a soccer game.

United midfielder Chris Rolfe saw his opportunity to open the scoring - and the best chance of the first half - go just wide of the Crew goal right before half time. A strike from outside the 18 ended up not troubling Clark and kept D.C. scoreless.

The Black and Gold created chances for themselves on either side of the break. In the 45th minute, it was a half-volley from Anor from outside the box that went high of the goal. To begin the second half, Ethan Finlay's low cross found Jairo Arrieta, but his shot went wide of the United goal.

10 minutes later, Arrieta and Anor found themselves involved in the attack again. The forward laid the ball off for the attacking left back. His shot forced a good save from D.C. keeper Bill Hamid. The rebound fell to Finlay, but the savior on Wednesday put the ball over the net.

Both Ben Speas - who started in the place of the injured Federico Higuain - and second half substitute Adam Bedell had chances to give the Crew the lead.

Speas found space on the side of the United penalty area and attempted to whip a cross in from of goal. His effort was deflected and hit side netting, narrowly missing an unintentional goal in the 70th minute.

In the 83rd, Finlay cut the ball back to Bedell, but the big forward's one-time redirect was right at Hamid.

Jared Jeffery, a second half sub for the Black and Red, had a right footed effort from inside the box saved by Clark, warming him up for the save of the match.

It was four minutes into stoppage time when the ball bounced up on Anor and the referee pointed to the spot. Central defender Eric Gehrig's protest that the ball played the hand earned him a yellow card caution, but Clark saved the day by standing tall and catching Espindola's cheeky attempt.

Columbus now enters their World Cup group stage break. The team will not play an MLS game until welcoming FC Dallas to town on June 28. This will be much needed time off, giving Higuain, hamstring, and midfielder Wil Trapp, knee, time to heal before the grueling summer portion of the season.

During the league break, the Crew do have a U.S. Open Cup match with the Indy 11 on June 17. The game will be played on the campus of the University of Akron, at FirstEnergy Stadium.