As many flocked to downtown Columbus to partake in the annual tradition of Red, White & Boom, a brave contingent of Columbus Crew SC fans elected to watch their team take on Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in a friendly match Tuesday night at MAPFRE Stadium.
With the threat for severe weather looming in Central Ohio, both teams took to the pitch to begin pregame warmups. At approximately 6:40 p.m., both clubs were directed into their respective locker rooms as severe weather approached.
They would remain there for two hours and 20 minutes waiting for the weather to pass through the area. At 9:20 p.m., the clubs were told to take the field and begin warming up yet again. Crew SC officials informed those in attendance that the match would kick off shortly before 10 p.m. and both clubs agreed to play two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute break.
Saprissa attempted to set the tone early. Midfielders Mariano Torres and Jaylon Hadden combined on a great passing sequence that challenged Crew SC goalkeeper Jon Kempin to make two consecutive saves at point blank range. Crew SC answered with an opportunity five minutes later, when midfielder Eduardo Sosa found Gyasi Zardes who headed a shot just over the bar.
Before halftime, the Black & Gold claimed an early advantage. A great passing combination between Hector Jimenez and Sosa sprung Zardes, who took a stutter step fooling the Saprissa goalkeeper Aarón Cruz and burying a shot in an uncontested net.
Both teams made a host of substitutions at the half. Head coach Gregg Berhalter introduced eight new players into the lineup including Josh Williams and Pedro Santos. Those players wasted no time in making an impact. Columbus doubled its lead when Santos found Williams in the 33rd minute as the defender rose above the opposition to head the ball past the Saprissa goalkeeper.
The Black & Gold made a strong case for a third goal as great attacking play from Santos, Niko Hansen, and Edward Opoku created nervy moments for the Costa Rican side in the defensive third. The pressure didn’t last long as the offensive production began to wane as the second half progressed on. Regardless, both teams got in a great workout on a strange night in Central Ohio.
Tuesday night was a typical summer night in Central Ohio as afternoon thunderstorms swept through the area. Both teams found unique ways to pass the time during the delay, but the fans had to demonstrate tremendous patience, waiting almost three hours to watch their beloved Black & Gold play in a friendly.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the team, a crowd of 7,023 die hard fans brought energy and passion to MAPFRE Stadium and they should be commended for sticking around.
Sosa’s run continues
The Venezuelan midfielder continued his impressive run of form with another stellar performance against Saprissa on Tuesday night. Sosa was all over the pitch, working hard on both sides of the ball and generated several quality chances for Crew SC. Being limited to only 30 minutes on Tuesday could be a solid indication that fans will see a heavy dose of the 22 year old this weekend.
Crew SC look to continue the momentum it established against Real Salt Lake as it heads back to Los Angeles for the second time in three weeks to on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST on July 7th.