Columbus Crew 2 hosted Toronto FC II on Sunday at Historic Crew Stadium looking to improve on their three-game winning streak. After going down 1-0 early, Columbus clawed back to earn a hard-fought 2-1 victory and send the home fans happy once again in the Black & Gold’s second game this season in front of the locall crowd.
Before the start of the game, Crew 2 announced the team signed Academy players Quinton Elliot (who started today) and Zion Scarlett (who came on in the 87th minute) to season-long amateur agreements. Toronto FC also made an announcement that the team’s head coach was unavailable for the match, as well as Daniel Gogarty starting after signing with the club yesterday.
In the opening minute, Michael Vang, unfortunately, went down with an injury and had to come out of the game, being replaced by Jay Tee Kamara. Coach Laurent Courtois later stated that it was a concussion, but he should be fine.
Columbus’ first chance game in the 13th minute from a Mohamed Farsi cross into the penalty box for Coleman Gannon who was just wide of the net. Just minutes later, Gannon had another chance in the box from a beautiful setup by Farsi and Marco Micaletto.
The 19th minute saw Jacen Russell-Rowe on the outside with options on both sides as well as a free shot on goal, which he took from outside the 18-yard box and just barely missed. However, on the counter, Paul Rothrock set up Alec Diaz to give the assist to Hugo Mbongue against the run of play to earn him his third goal of the season and give TFC II a 1-0 lead. The goal broke a near month-long streak of shutouts by the Crew 2 backline.
Columbus proved the team was ready to press just as much as Toronto, with Farsi setting up Gannon from the right side moments later, but Toronto’s goalkeeper, Ranjitsinghm was on form, saving the goal and Kamara just missed a goal from the bounce back.
In the 25th minute, the Black & Gold had a huge chance after a terrific through ball to Gannon, but Ranjitsingh performed a stellar save. However, Russel-Rowe proved he is always in the right spot and slotted the ball in the goal to tie it at 1-1.
The Black & Gold exploited the right side of the field, getting chance after chance to get into the penalty box. It occurred once again in the 37th minute from a Farsi pass to Coleman who delivered a cross into Russel-Rowe, setting up Issac Angking beautifully but the shot was just off.
Just before the half, Ranjitsingh had the save of the game, and maybe the save of the season, from a shot by Russel-Rowe that surely goes in if it is anyone else is in goal. Columbus dominated possession and the chances in the first half, having to feel like the better time and maybe a bit frustrated they level at the time, but Ranjitsingh had a half to remember.
Whatever shooting woes Gannon had in the first half disappeared when the whistle blew to start the second, scoring from a lovely ball played by Kamara within the first 15 seconds of the second half. Gannon’s goal is his first for the club and with finishes like that, there will surely be more to come.
Columbus goalkeeper Brady Scott did not have a ton of action, but the 56th minute tested him when TFC II had a superb chance from a Steffen Yates shot but Scott made the key save. Toronto began to take over the next 15 minutes, getting a goal from Diaz that was called offside, but TFC II responded well after going down 2-1, giving Scott a lot more trouble than in the first half.
Gannon was once again in the penalty box with a wonderful chance in the 66th minute after Kamara delivered a cross that landed perfectly on the attacker’s head, but he was once again unlucky as the ball goes off the woodworks.
Crew 2 had an influx of substitutions between the 60th and 70th minutes, with Jacob Erlandson, Justin Malou and Jordan all receiving valuable minutes. After receiving a yellow card, Kamara, who replaced Fang early on came off for Nico Fuson.
The substitutions helped settle Columbus’ defense down and contain Toronto’s attack with new fresh legs as neither team took control until the 86th minute when the Reds had a shot by Duncan in the box but was off the mark.
Ranjitsingh denied the Black & Gold once again in the 89th minute as the Crew had a ton of space to end the game, but the Toronto goalkeeper continued his game to remember.
In the end, TFC II couldn’t break down Columbus’ defense and the Crew 2 extended its winning streak to four games.
Attack starts with Mohamed Farsi
Despite being a defender, the attack clearly ran through Farsi against Toronto. The young Canadian leads the club in assists and it’s easy to see why. Farsi’s speed and crossing give the likes of Russel-Rowe, Gannon and many others multiple chances in the 18-yard box.
Farsi has been one of the best players on the pitch every game this season and with performances like these, one has to wonder if there if he will be called up to the first team.
Columbus will get to soak in this win for a little longer as the team does not play next week, but is back on the road to take on New England Revolution II at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, May 8.