In their 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact at the end of August, the Columbus Crew were disappointed with the way they started the game. Before the rematch, members of the Black and Gold talked about starting fast so they wouldn't have to come from behind once again.
Midfielder Ethan Finlay gave his team the start they were looking for, scoring just two minutes in, the fastest goal of the season for the Crew to kick off the 2-0 win. Midfielder Wil Trapp found him running into the box on the right side and Finlay did the rest, blasting the ball by Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush for the 1-0 advantage.
The Impact did not put their tail between their legs after allowing the early goal, but rather looked to get momentum back on their side. Former Crew player Dilly Duka earned his team an instant response when he sent a ball across the six-year box, but Trapp deflected it before forward Jack McInerney could finish it.
After 19 minutes, Finlay found his way in behind the Montreal defense again, but this time Bush was quick off his line to block the winger's shot. The rebound went wide to right back Hector Jimenez, but his cross was cleared by a defender.
The teams continued to battle back and forth throughout the half as Columbus looked to build on their early lead and the Impact looked to erase it. Despite only one recorded shot in the first half, Montreal pressured the Crew at points in search of the equalizer.
The second half opened slower than the first, but the energy level in the Columbus Crew Stadium quickly rose when the center referee pointed to the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Finlay was brought down off the ball. Federico Higuain, who missed an attempt from the spot on the opposite side of the field last week, stepped up and put the ball in the side netting for a two-goal advantage.
Montreal tried for the quick response in the form of a Calum Mallace volley. The Impact midfielder hit the ball out of the air from 30 yards out, forcing Steve Clark to tip the shot over the crossbar.
Justin Meram likely thought he had a goal in the 62nd minute after his head met the cross from left back Waylon Francis, but his flick attempt flew across goal and just wide of the far post and Finlay, who followed up the play.
The match began to get chippy after that, with yellow cards having to be shown to multiple players and Montreal head coach Frank Klopas given his marching orders after arguing a call. Klopas will now miss next week's game at the Chicago Fire, the side in which he played and coached.
After being so clinical in front of goal in recent matches, the Black and Gold had a weird series of misses in the 87th minute. Central midfielder Tony Tchani made a long run into the box while holding off a defender. His shot hit the near post and rebounded directly to second half substitute Bernardo Anor. The winger took a touch and his shot hit the post followed by a rebound right to Bush.
The match appeared done and dusted until the center official signaled for the second penalty kick of the night, this one for the Impact. Striker Marco Di Vaio hit a clean shot from 12 yards ou, but his effort was saved by a diving Clark.
After the final whistle blew, Clark and Meram - who seemed more pleased than anyone about his goalkeeper's penalty kick save - both celebrated in front of the Nordecke with the "Yes!" chant, which is becoming a post game ritual at Crew Stadium.
The Crew now head on the road for three consecutive games, beginning next Saturday at the New England Revolution.