Crew SC's road woes? Long gone. After a long struggle to get win number one, thanks Chicago, no team is hotter away from home. The team won it's fifth away game of the year and fourth straight.
Both teams wanted to jump out to a fast start. D.C. is struggling mightily and an early lead would hamstring Crew SC's plan. Columbus needed to get ahead in hopes of being able to crack further crack open a determined defensive unit. We each team looking for that first goal, that lead to an open game with direct attacking play.
Crew SC got the best chances early. After earning a corner in the third minute, Columbus nearly went ahead after Tony Tchani hammered a header that left the crossbar shuddering from the thunderous shot. Tchani once again looked to push the offense forward from deep. He would soon collect a ball and fire a 30 yard shot that required Bill Hamid to parry to keep the game even.
D.C. United then got their turn. Tchani fumbled a touch and Alvaro Saborio jumped on the mistake to steal the ball cleanly. Saborio bore down on Steve Clark, but the Crew SC keeper was able to parry the one on one attempt.
With the game settling down from the manic opening, things started falling together for Crew SC. In the 27th minute, D.C. had seemingly cleared another wave of Crew SC pressure when Michael Parkhurst settled over the ball near midfield. His lofted ball was nodded by Kei Kamara to the wing and Tyson Wahl. Wahl tapped it centrally to Ethan Finlay who danced, turned, and launched a shot from inside the six to put the visitors ahead.
Crew SC looked for goal number two before the half, but Justin Meram's attempt was well offside and Bill Hamid was more than capable to manage Kamara's chance off a long ball. D.C. entered halftime trailing 1-0 to Columbus.
Wanting to get the insurance goal, Crew SC came out strong to open the second half. United pressed for an equalizer, but Columbus took a page out of D.C.'s playbook and surged into transition in the 49th minute. Tchani took clearing header into midfield and played a breathtaking pass into the stride of Kamara. Goal number 21 made it 2-0.
Goal number three nearly came minutes later as Justin Meram fired a left footed bullet that forced another Hamid save. D.C. United looked spent and Columbus were going to have to gift a goal to get them back in the game. That's exactly what happened when Sean Franklin sent a ball into the 18, but Chris Klute handled the ball to draw a penalty. Chris Rolfe finished off the penalty to make it 2-1.
A reenergized D.C. United team would once again press for the equalizer, but the Crew SC defense bent, but didn't break. The squad was able to weather the final twenty minutes without too much danger and move into first place. They may even get to keep it of the New York Red Bulls lose against Portland on Saturday evening.
Columbus returns to MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday, September 26th when they face the Portland Timbers. The team has announced expanded seating for the match as club greats will be on hand to celebrate the announcements of the top 5 moments in team history. First place and even a run at the Supporters Shield could be on the line.