The Columbus Crew tied the New York Red Bulls last night at Red Bull Arena, 1-1, thanks to a stoppage time goal conjured up by Crew rookies, and former Big Ten players, Rich Balchan and Justin Meram. The Crew move to 3-3-6 (15 points) on the season, and the Red Bulls are now 4-2-7 (19 points).
New York midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy scored New York’s only goal in the 9th minute. Forward Luke Rodgers collected a long ball outside the box. He turned towards the goal and sent Ballouchy a through ball. Crew goalier William Hesmer came off his line, but Ballouchy chipped it past him and into the corner of the net.
Columbus Designated Player Andres Mendoza missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 75th minute. Mendoza had a wide open header right in front of the goal go closer to the corner flag than the target.
New York seemed to have the 3 points all wrapped up. However, Crew rookies Rich Balchan and Justin Meram teamed up two minutes into stoppage time to tie the game. Meram received the ball on the left side of the field. He moved towards the goal, beating Red Bulls’ defender Matt Kassel on his way to the end line. Meram cut the ball back across the box. Balchan made a late run and hit the ball into the right side of the net as he fell to the ground. The goal was Balchan’s first ever MLS goal, and Meram picked up his first ever MLS assist. The importance of the goal was apparent, as Balchan ran to the bench full speed with his hands in the air looking for someone to celebrate with. Shep Messing, New York’s television analyst, said about the goal, “I think I’m going to be sick.”
The Crew play this Wednesday night at home against Real Salt Lake. New York plays at Red Bull Arena again Friday night against the New England Revolution.
Columbus Crew – William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner (Shaun Francis 86), Dilly Duka (Justin Meram 74), Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Rich Balchan, Tommy Heinemann (Jeff Cunningham 41), Andres Mendoza.
New York Red Bulls – Greg Sutton, Jan Gunnar Solli (Matt Kassel 28), Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller, Austin Da Luz, Mehdi Ballouchy, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere, Luke Rodgers, Thierry Henry.
Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers started for the U.S. national team’s friendly game against Spain Saturday afternoon. The U.S. lost 4-0.