Columbus kicked things off to start the match, but it was Orlando who got the first good look in the fourth minute of play, with the attack heading towards Joe Bendik. Ruan centered a ball into the six-yard box, but it was there for Bendik to make the save.
Columbus came close to opening the scoring just a minute later when Pedro Santos beat Will Johnson to find Gyasi Zardes, who puts the ball off of the crossbar. Zardes and Wil Trapp made their first start after returning from international duty.
Orlando almost opened the scoring in the 11th minute, when Kamal Miller barely missed the back of the net with his shot from roughly 25-yards out. Bendik was quick to the punch and could’ve made the save if the chance was on target.
The Crew had two more solid chances to make the score 1-0. Luis Argudo took a shot inside the box that was blocked for a corner. Santos fired a cross that forced a fingertip save from Brian Rowe. The Black & Gold weren’t able to take advantage of the set pieces.
Crew were forced into a first-half substitution as Gaston Sauro went down injured in his own penalty area and was forced to leave with a leg injury. Aboubacar Keita replaced him in the 25th minute.
After the 30th-minute hydration break, the Crew picked up where they left off, keeping possession and probing the Orlando backline, but failing to test Rowe with three offs target shots in the minutes leading up to halftime.
The hosts were content to play on the counter but were unable to create real chances. The best came in the 43rd minute as Chris Mueller nearly got on the end of a Tesho Akendele pass, but Harrison Afful broke up the play.
The stats were heavily tilted towards the Crew in the first half with the visitors leading in shots six to one and holding much of the possession. None of the Crew’s chances were on frame, with Zardes’ early chance ringing the crossbar. Both teams ended the half scoreless.
Neither side was able to create anything offensively as the second half opened. It would take 15 minutes for either team to register a shot, Santos in the 61st minute. The Crew soon went to the bench again, bringing on David Accam in his return from injury a minute later, replacing Luis Argudo.
The insertion or Accam failed to ignite the Crew offense, which continued to hold on to the ball but failed to record a shot for nearly a half an hour after Santos’s 61st minute effort.
The offensive dry spell gave Orlando City the opening they needed to steal the game.
Lamine Sane drove a pass down the right side past Waylon Francis for Ruan to run on to. The Orlando fullback sent in a cutback cross that found Benji Michel inside the six-yard box. Michel finished the close-range shot in the 85th minute.
The Crew would press for a tying goal, firing in four shots in the little remaining time. Afful uncorked a shot that forced Rowe into a diving save in the 87th minute.
Zardes had two stoppage-time chances, sending an open header toward the ground in the 91st minute that Rowe grabbed and then sending a soft header just wide of the Orlando goal in the 92nd minute.
Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer was sent off in the 93rd minute for an elbow to the face of Josh Williams in an attempt to clear him out before contesting a header. It didn’t change the outcome of the game as Columbus suffered ninth game in a row without a win.
Another effort that just isn’t good enough
Crew fans have seen this one before. Possession, chances, a solid defensive effort for 80 minutes, and another loss. Columbus had 57% possession, 10 corners, 30 crosses, and a single shot on goal. The loss is the second five-game losing streak of the season. The team is now 1-13-1 in their last 15 games. The Crew will also finish the weekend with the worst point total in the league, 17, shared with FC Cincinnati.
The injury bug bites Sauro
Gaston Sauro was replaced by Aboubacar Keita in the 25th minute. Head Coach Caleb Porter mentioned that he had not talked to the trainer during his post-match press conference, but believes the Argentine center back may have injured his quad. If that is the case, the injury woes just keep coming for Columbus, and it’s something they may never escape.
A quick turnaround for Columbus as they travel to Bridgeview face off against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 8 pm EST.