The Columbus Crew came traveled to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening riding a high due to last week’s 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the home opener of the 2022 MLS season. However, the Black and Gold learned that San Jose was much more resilient than Vancouver and paid for it in the end, grabbing only one point from what should have been three.
Columbus fielded the same starting 11 as last week, with new addition Miloš Degenek once again starting for the injured Josh Williams. As great as Degenek was on his debut, his second game in a Crew kit was not the same, as he was called for stepping on Paul Marie’s foot in the box at the fifth minute. After a check from VAR, the penalty was awarded and Cristian Espinoza’s penalty escaped Eloy Room’s outstretched left arm to give the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
The first real chance for Columbus came from a give-and-go pass from Lucas Zelarayán to Derrick Etienne Jr., who’s shot was just low enough for San Jose goalkeeper James Marcinkowski to tap it over the bar. The Crew began taking control of possession and found the team’s groove, whipping in crosses and preventing the Earthquakes from getting much action in the final third.
San Jose played a physical first half, earning a yellow card on Eric Remedi early on and a red card on Jamiero Monterio from a dangerous challenge after colliding with Darlington Nagbe near midfield.
In the 40th minute, Columbus took advantage of the 10-men team as Zelarayán scored a gorgeous top-corner goal from a layoff by Steven Moreira, evening the score at one apiece at the half.
San Jose was quick to make changes at the half, replacing Javier Lopez with Cade Cowell and then bringing on Judson for Eric Remedi, not wanting to risk the possibility of two red cards. Cowell’s addition to the game seemed to boost the Quakes, as the 18 year old found his gaps to cut into the defense multiple times and give Columbus something to worry about.
The Black & Gold made their own substitutions, putting on Gysai Zardes for Miguel Berry in the 65th minute and James Igbekeme for Artur in the 66th minute. The change made head Caleb Porter look like a genius as three minutes later, Zardes scored off of a pass from Etienne in the 68th minute, giving Columbus the lead and giving the manager a dilemma on who forward to start next week.
The goals did not stop there as Zelarayán had a free kick given outside the box. The Argentinean did what he does best and found the net, giving him a brace on the day (both outside the box) giving the Crew a comfortable 3-1 lead.
A foul from Igbekeme on Marcos Lopez gave the Earthquakes a free kick in the 84th minute. A Jan Gregus cross found Fransico Calvo’s head and gave the game more life as the Crew found trouble finishing off San Jose.
After four minutes of extra time, the Earthquakes had one last opportunity to steal a point and it went back to what worked. Another Gregus cross found Calvo’s head yet again to tie the game at the death, leaving Columbus stunned from a game everyone thought was all but over 10 minutes prior.
Zelarayán Magic yet again
The Crew did not come out with the same intensity and dominance as in the home opener. Not much of the team looked the same as they did last week, but the one who did was, of course, Lucas Zelarayán. Zelarayán’s brace today gives him three goals on the year, and he is proving to be an uncomparable threat outside the penalty box in this league. The Argentinian now has 13 goals outside of the box since coming to Columbus in 2020, the most in the MLS by a landslide.
Not making the ost on their chances
Columbus will feel stunned by the final result, but this is what happens when teams do not take their chances when they are given. The Black & Gold had 19 shots to San Jose’s sen. That is now 41 shots in two games, and while that is amazing, there have only been seven goals that have come out of it. Typically seven goals in two games could get you to six points, but when they have created that many shots and have played with 10 men in both games, six points is expected.
After Columbus leaves San Jose with two fewer points than the team will feel they should have, it’s back home to take on rival Toronto FC next Saturday . Toronto will come in with only one point in two games and a goal difference of -3, a perfect opportunity for the Crew to score and not let off the gas.