clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Crew drops another road game with late goal to 10-man Orlando City

Columbus suffers playoff positioning blow

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew suffered a late collapse despite being up a man in a 2-1 loss to Orlando City. The result is a blow to the Black & Gold’s efforts to secure a home playoff game and push for a top two seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The hosts came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute. Orlando pushed the ball forward into space for Tesho Akindele tracked down. He then linked up with Chris Mueller centrally who quickly squared to Mauricio Pereyra. The playmaker took a quick one touch pass into Junior Urso as the Crew defense was pulled completely out of shape. Urso put his open shot from the penalty spot wide as Eloy Room dove to cover the attempt.

Columbus continued to struggle with the Orlando defense, often unable to get out of their own half. The hosts intercepted the hopeful long balls forward and pressed the Crew when they tried to play out of the back with the Black & Gold misfiring on short clearances in the defensive end or getting stripped and putting them back under pressure.

Orlando did get their breakthrough and it came from another poor distribution from the back. Harrison Afful attempted to square a pass to Artur, but it missed badly and went straight to Pereyra. He played a cross box pass to an unmarked Mueller. He calmly finished the tight angle shot to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Eloy Room kept the Crew in it with a brilliant kick save on a deflected Kyle Smith shot in the 29th minute. The clipped ball changed direction and Room’s save was something a hockey goalie would pull out. Orlando City collected the rebound and set up another Smith shot in traffic that forced another Room parry.

The action remained end to end as Luis Diaz immediately cleared the danger with a driving run down the right side. He slipped two defenders and fed Gyasi Zardes as he entered the Orlando half. Zardes would get the ball back to Diaz as the defense collapsed on him and the speedy Costa Rican drove into the six-yard box, with the chance eventually snuffed out by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

The Crew would force another Gallese save in the 40th minute as Diaz cross across goal found Lucas Zelarayan in space on the left. The Argentine cut in and his initial shot was blocked. The Crew reset and swung in a corner. Zelarayan’s free header was snapped down from 10 yards, but right into the City keeper’s hands.

It would be the best chance for a Columbus team that was outplayed through much of the first half, with Orlando doubling the Crew’s five shots.

The game quickly took a turn early in the second half as Orlando City was reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute. Nani had a poor touch as the hosts tried to play out of danger. Artur recovered the ball and drove towards the 18 yard box. Nani lunged to recover, leveled his cleat into Artur’s ankle, and referee Ramy Touchan whistled the play. Touchan issued a yellow card, but was prompted to review the play by VAR. The check was quick and Nani was off.

It took Columbus less than five minutes to level the game as the Crew pushed for an equalizer. Diaz swung in a big cross that was blocked. Orlando struggled to clear the clipped ball, Pedro Santos collected, dropped a short pass to Afful, who let fly with a one touch shot past a stranded Gallese in the 55th minute.

Orlando City settled after the red card and goal series and stifled the momentum that had seem them lose hold of the game. The Crew were limited to a single shot in the 10 minutes after the goal.

The home side thought they had a chance to regain the lead in the 71st minute after shouts of a handball as it appeared a Crew player may have deflected the ball in the penalty area. Touchan was again called to the sideline monitor, the review took a little longer, but he waved off a penalty call.

Columbus struggled to break down an energized Orlando City defense. The Black & Gold attack failed to put a shot on goal after the 60th minute despite camping in the Orlando end. The hosts were comfortable with limiting the Crew’s chances in the final third.

Under constant Crew offensive pressure, Orlando would shock the Crew with a goal off a Ruan route one pass to Benji Michel. Bouba Keita struggled with marking the man as the pass came and got spun around. Michel tracked down the ball and shed the Waylon Francis tackle and poked a shot past Room.

Entirely against the run of play, Orlando City was up 2-1 in the 84th minute.

Columbus would get a single shot on goal after going down, a hopeful Jonathan Mensah shot from 25 yards, four minutes into the eight minutes of stoppage time.

The Columbus Crew suffered a late collapse in a 2-1 loss to Orlando City on Wednesday night, despite being up a man for the majority of the second half. The result is a blow to the Black & Gold’s efforts to secure a home playoff game and push for a top two seed in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Orlando came out looking to score from the opening whistle, understanding the importance of this match given both sides sat tied in third place in the MLS’s Eastern Conference. The home side came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute. Orlando pushed the ball forward into space for Tesho Akindele to track down. The forward linked with Chris Mueller centrally who quickly squared to Mauricio Pereyra. The playmaker took a quick one-touch pass into Junior Urso as the Crew defense was pulled completely out of shape. Urso put his open shot from the penalty spot wide as goalkeeper Eloy Room dove to cover the attempt.

Columbus continued to struggle with the OCSC’s defense, often unable to get out of the team’s own half. The hosts intercepted the hopeful long balls forward and pressed the Crew when trying to play out of the back with the Black & Gold misfiring on short clearances in the defensive end or getting stripped and going back under pressure.

City did get the team’s breakthrough from another poor distribution from the back. Right back Harrison Afful attempted to square a pass to Artur in central midfield, but missed his pass badly and it went straight to Pereyra. The midfielder played a cross-box pass to an unmarked Mueller who calmly finished the tight-angle shot to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Room kept the Crew in the game with a brilliant kick save on a deflected Kyle Smith shot in the 29th minute. The clipped ball changed direction and Room’s save was something a hockey goalie would pull out. Orlando City collected the rebound and set up another Smith shot in traffic that forced another Room parry.

The action remained end to end as winger Luis Diaz immediately cleared the danger with a driving run down the right side. Diaz slipped two defenders and fed striker Gyasi Zardes as he entered the Orlando half. Zardes got the ball back to Diaz as the defense collapsed on him and the speedy Costa Rican drove into the six-yard box, with the chance eventually snuffed out by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Columbus forced another Gallese save in the 40th minute as Diaz sent a ball across goal that found Lucas Zelarayan in space on the left. The Argentine playmaker cut in and his initial shot was blocked. The Crew reset and swung in a corner. Zelarayan’s free header was snapped down from 10 yards, but right into the City keeper’s hands.

That chance would be the best opportunity for a Columbus team that was outplayed through much of the first half, with Orlando doubling the Crew’s five shots.

The game quickly took a turn early in the second half when Orlando was reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute. Nani had a poor touch as the hosts tried to play out of danger. Artur recovered the ball and drove towards the 18-yard box. The Portuguese winger lunged to recover, leveled his cleat into Artur’s ankle, and referee Ramy Touchan whistled the play. Touchan issued a yellow card but was prompted to review the play by the Video Assistant Review. The check was quick and Nani was sent off.

It took Columbus less than five minutes to level the game after going up a man. Diaz swung in a big cross that was blocked. but Orlando struggled to clear the clipped ball. Pedro Santos collected dropped a short pass to Afful, who let fly with a one-touch shot past a stranded Gallese in the 55th minute.

Orlando City settled after the red card and conceding and stifled the momentum that saw the team lose hold of the game. The Crew was limited to a single shot in the 10 minutes after the goal.

The home side thought it had a chance to regain the lead in the 71st minute after shouts of a handball as it appeared a Crew player may have deflected the ball in the penalty area. Touchan was again called to the sideline monitor. This review took a little longer, but he waved off a penalty call.

Columbus struggled to break down an energized Orlando defense the rest of the match. The Black & Gold attack failed to put a shot on goal after the 60th minute despite camping in the OCSC end. The hosts were comfortable with limiting the Crew’s chances in the final third.

Under constant Crew offensive pressure, Orlando shocked the visitors with a goal off a Ruan route-one pass to Benji Michel. Aboubacar Keita struggled with marking the substitute attacker as the pass came and he got spun around. Michel tracked down the ball, shed the Waylon Francis tackle and poked a shot through Room’s legs.

Entirely against the run of play, Orlando City was up 2-1 in the 84th minute.

Columbus managed only a single shot on goal after going down, a hopeful Jonathan Mensah effort from 25 yards out, four minutes into the eight minutes of stoppage time.

Rotations

Caleb Porter talked in the days leading up to the game about finding a rhythm and playing a strong squad. Despite the short turnaround, the changes were limited. Diaz started for Derrick Ettiene Jr. and Waylon Francis replaced Milton Valenzuela. Darlington Nagbe and Zelarayan each played from the start.

Porter had to balance getting the result and resting key players and it was clear the balance changed during the game. The coach was clear in wanting to protect Zelarayan and Nagbe as they build fitness after returning from injury, but the pair likely played about 10 minutes more than originally planned as the Crew chased three points.

Winless on the Road

The Crew finishes the 2020 season winless on the road. Even FC Cincinnati has a victory away from home. The Black & Gold have lost five and tied five games on the road. Only the Chicago Fire have failed to win away from home. The poor record killed off any chance for the Supporters’ Shield by mid-October and now may impact a possible home playoff game.

Columbus’ road to MLS Cup will be won on the road. There’s still a solid chance to host a first-round match, but now the Crew likely will play games in the second round and possibly beyond away from MAPFRE Stadium, a distinct challenge for a team that hasn’t unlocked how to get three points away from home in the COVID era.

What’s Next

With the loss, the Crew move to 11-6-5 and 38 points on the year. The Black & Gold are now fourth in the Eastern Conference, trailing Orlando by three points for third and two points ahead of New York City FC in fifth. Columbus ends the regular season hosting Atlanta United at MAPFRE Stadium on Decision Day. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.