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Vancouver Whitecaps, Kei Kamara end Columbus Crew SC unbeaten run

After five matches, the Black & Gold had their first setback in the 2018 season against the Canadians.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC’s Gregg Berhalter postgame comments after the 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Posted by Massive Report on Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Vancouver Whitecaps have been a tough matchup for Columbus Crew SC and unwanted visitors at MAPRFRE Stadium, winning the last two matches they played in Central Ohio. Saturday was no different.

The Canadians frustrated the Black & Gold one more time, posting a 2-1 comeback victory that delivered Columbus the team’s first loss of the 2018 MLS season.

Gyasi Zardes scored for the Black & Gold in the first half, but Brek Shea and former Crew SC striker Kei Kamara netted a pair of goals in the second half to turn things around. Columbus has now 10 points in five matches (3-1-1).

Head coach Gregg Berhalter opted to start the match with a good portion of his traditional lineup untouched. The only exception was the absence of left back Milton Valenzuela, who was replaced by Hector Jimenez. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen and captain Wil Trapp, who were both with the U.S. Men’s National Team during the week, returned to the starting XI.

Crew SC controlled the pace of the game in the first half and had the best early chance in the fourth minute, but Federico Higuain’s shot was way too high. The Whitecaps answered a few minutes later with a good run from Shea in the left side, but Jonathan Mensah blocked what could be a dangerous shot from Bernie Ibini-Ibsei inside the penalty box.

In the 19th minute, the Nigerian sprinted down the right wing and tried a low cross to Kamara. The ball was deflected by Crew SC’s defense, but ultimately landed at the feet of the striker, who fired it over the goal whilst hearings some boos coming from the Nordecke.

Three minutes later, Pedro Santos tried a long-distance shot, which deflected off Kendall Waston and went just a few inches wide of Stefan Marinovic’s right post. A few minutes after that, the Portuguese repeated the same play, this time having his low shot only partially saved by the keeper. Zardes followed up on the play to tap it in and score his fourth goal for Crew SC.

Before the halftime whistle, the Black & Gold had a pair of additional opportunities to score in a header or Artur that didn’t go as he planned and a Harrison Afful shot that went out wide.

The Canadians started the second half in better shape and didn’t take much time to even the score. In the 51st minute, after a counter attack, Ibini tried a diagonal shot, Steffen deflected it to the center of the box and Shea fired in to the empty net to tie the match.

Crew SC had a good chance nine minutes later, when Afful crossed in the box. The ball bounced off two Whitecaps’ defenders and rebounded to Higuain, who shot it with too much power over the goal. A few minutes later, Valenzuela came in to replace Jimenez.

In the 67th minute, Alphonso Davies took advantage of Crew SC’s lack of defensive organization on a counter attack to dribble the ball for quite a few yards and score, but the goal was disallowed after a video review that indicated Davies handled the ball.

Three minutes later, though, there was no way out for Crew SC as Kamara prevailed over Trapp in an aerial duel in the penalty box and headed the ball to the back of the net to put the visitors ahead.

Columbus pushed forward and Berhalter putted Adam Jahn and Luis Argudo on to the field to push for goals, but the closest the team got to scoring was on an Artur’s header that touched the crossbar in the 85th minute.

A Canadian party for Zardes

Zardes is having a very good start with Crew SC scoring four goals in five matches and his current form brings up an interesting coincidence. All of his goals so have been scored against Canadian teams. The forward netted one against Toronto FC in the season opener and had a brace against the Montreal Impact the following week. He’s yet to score on American team, though.

Next Challenge

After back-to-back home matches, Crew SC travels north next Saturday, April 7th, as the team will face rivals Chicago Fire at the Toyota Park at 8.30 p.m. ET.