The Columbus Crew and Chivas USA played to an exciting, back and forth 3-3 tie Saturday night in front of 9,431 at Crew Stadium. The Crew remain undefeated at home on the season. With the tie, Columbus moves to 3-3-5 (14 points) on the season, and Chivas moves to 3-3-4 (13 points).
Nick LaBrocca opened the scoring in the 4th minute for Chivas. Simon Elliot crossed the ball into the box. Justin Braun chased it down before it went out of the field of play and directed the ball back across goal, where LaBrocca was able to tap it past Crew goalie William Hesmer for the 1-0 lead.
In the 12th minute, Andres Mendoza was not been able to convert on an open net due to Chivas defender Ante Jazic’s goal line clearance. Five minutes later, Mendoza leveled the game for Columbus. Midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo started running with the ball from his own side of the field. Once he got near Chivas’s box, he slid the ball through to Mendoza on the left side of the goal. Mendoza finished with the outside of his left foot and into the bottom right corner. The Crew had been held scoreless for 219 consecutive minutes. Mendoza’s goal was also the very first goal in the first half for Columbus this MLS season (10 games).
Chivas USA defender Andrew Boyens broke the tie off a Hearth Pearce corner kick in the 37th minute after out-jumping Crew defender Chad Marshall and forward Tommy Heinemann.
Designated Player Mendoza scored his second goal of the game in the 52 minute. Elliot tried playing a back pass to his defense, but the ball went straight to Mendoza. Mendoza had a one on one with Chivas goalie Dan Kennedy, and he slotted the ball past him with his left foot.
Flores gave the lead to Chivas for the third time in the 57th minute. Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski sent Flores through on goal with a nice pass, and Flores’ left footed shot went through Hesmer’s arms and into the net.
Flores was sent off in the 69th minute after receiving his second yellow card. However, Columbus was unable to take advantage, and the game ended 3-3.
Mendoza was subbed off in the 71st minute, and he proceeded to go straight to the locker room after leaving the field. Rookie Justin Meram made his first ever MLS appearance after coming on in the 76th minute. Defender Andy Iro came on in the 89th minute and played forward for the remainder of the game. Ekpo’s goal and assist were his first since the 2009 season.
The Crew play at New York next Saturday. The Crew’s reserve side also plays against the Red Bulls in New York on Monday at 11:00 am. Chivas plays at home against Vancouver on Wednesday.
Lineups: (Robbie Rogers played both left and right midfield according to the graphic)
Columbus Crew – William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan, Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven (Andy Iro 89), Emmanuel Ekpo, Josh Gardner, Andres Mendoza (Jeff Cunningham 71), Tommy Heinemann (Justin Meram 76).
Chivas USA – Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Andrew Boyens, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Ben Zemanski, Simon Elliott (Gerson Mayen 89), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun (Chris Cortez 89), Alejandro Moreno (Francisco Mendoza 79).