Columbus Crew SC earned their first MLS win in 73 days Saturday night when they defeated the Montreal Impact 2-1. Goals from center back Josh Williams and David Accam pushed the Black & Gold out of their seemingly never-ending losing streak. Coming off of a midweek tie at Chicago, it seems Columbus is finally finding some momentum, as they have showed continuous improvement in recent weeks.
Columbus is now unbeaten in their last two contests. Saturday’s win snaps a 10-game winless streak and a five-game winless streak at home.
The Black & Gold began the game with intensity, well-controlled possession, and aggression. In the 6th minute, Pedro Santos drew a free kick at the left side of the penalty box. Wil Trapp sent in a well-paced free kick that Williams was able to get his head on, arching it over the Impact goalkeeper. It appeared Montreal defender Daniel Lovitz was going to make an off-the-line clearance, but was unable to complete it and the Crew were up 1-0.
Montreal was awarded a similarly placed free kick in the 13th minute. Two shots came of the set piece, and both bounced off the crossbar, keeping the Crew in the lead, but only just.
Columbus continued to create offensive chances, but defensive sloppiness gave Montreal their only chances of the match. Goalkeeper Eloy Room was forced to make his first save in Black & Gold in the 18th minute when the team gave up another free kick and the shot was fired at the far post, forcing Room to stretch out.
The game began to settle and there were fewer chances between the two teams. Heading into the first hydration break in the 30th minute, possession was 50-50. Montreal seemed to shut down the Crew’s consistency, leaving the game far more open.
In the 38th minute, the injury list grew for Columbus when Waylon Francis went down. He continued to play, but couldn’t fight through and was subbed out in the 45th minute. He was replaced by Hector Jimenez.
Montreal blew out all the momentum the Crew was carrying in the second minute of first half stoppage time when Zakaria Diallo connected with an Impact corner and put it away. Room got a touch on it, but could not control it and Columbus went into the locker room tied 1-1.
Head coach Caleb Porter must have gotten through to his team during halftime, for just 49 seconds after the second-half whistle blew Accam made a run inside and got on the end of a through ball from Pedro Santos, scoring only to be called offside. However, the play went to Video Assistant Referee and the Crew was awarded the goal, putting them up 2-1 in the 47th minute.
Montreal went down to ten men in the 55th minute when Impact midfielder Bacary Sagna fouled David Accam from behind on a goal-scoring opportunity and was shown a straight red card.
Striker Gyasi Zardes looked to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute when he got control of it in the middle just outside the penalty box. He struck it well, but it sailed just over the crossbar. He would put another shot high in the 78th minute when he ended up one-on-one with the goalkeeper and was again unable to convert.
Harrison Afful took a shot from distance as well in the 70th minute, forcing the Impact goalkeeper to make a shaky save. The team was spending a lot of time in their attacking half, working to wear down the Montreal defense, though the Impact continued to disrupt he Crew’s flow.
There were several other shots in the midst of the second half that were not put on target. It was clear that Columbus was anxious to increase their lead, but they were unable to get a complete build up.
Fans thought the team finally got the third in the 86th minute when Luis Argudo took a shot that hit the outside of the net. Argudo had a stellar performance Saturday night, despite a lack of impact on the scoresheet.
Columbus held on through six minutes of stoppage time to take the victory.
The Crew will look to extend this unbeaten streak when they head to New York to take on the Red Bulls next Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The two teams haven’t met since their season opener in March, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Black & Gold will not be back home until the first #HellIsReal derby against Cincinnati on August 10.