The Columbus Crew defeated the Colorado Rapids last night, 4-1, in front of 10,771 fans in Crew Stadium. The game wasn’t short of talking points on the field, and in the stands. With the win, the Crew moved to 6-4-6 (24 points) on the season. The Rapids moved to 5-5-7 (22 points).
Connor Casey opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 5th minute. Casey beat Crew goalie William Hesmer at his near post with a glancing header off a Jaime Smith cross.
Columbus answered quickly, though. Eddie Gaven intercepted the ball near midfield. He dribbled down the right side of the field. Once he got into the box, he sent in a low shot towards the far post and beat Rapids goalie Matt Pickens in the 12th minute to tie the game.
Six minutes later, Andres Mendoza doubled the score for Columbus. The Designated Player got on the end of a bad back pass by Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura. His left foot finish from the edge of the box hit the crossbar and bounced down and into the net.
In the 29th minute, Connor Casey received a red card. The bald headed forward went to the ground at the same time William Hesmer went for the ball. Hesmer got the ball first, and Casey crashed into him, hitting his knee against Hesmer’s jaw.
The first half ended with the Crew leading 2-1. Three minutes into the second half, Andres Mendoza scored his second goal of the game. Crew defender Chad Marshall headed away a free kick from inside his own box. The ball bounced over Kosuke Kimura’s head, and Mendoza dribbled the ball from midfield all the way to the box. Matt Pickens came off his line, but Mendoza finished again with his left foot to make the game 3-1. It was Mendoza’s seventh goal in MLS this season.
In the 57th minute, Crew forward Tommy Heinemann scored his first ever MLS goal. Eddie Gaven crossed the ball into the box from the right side. Rapids defender Tyrone Marshall tried clearing the ball, but it instead fell right to Heinemann at the edge of the box. Heinemann shot with his left foot, but Pickens was only able to get a piece on the ball, and it rolled into the corner of the net for the Crew’s fourth goal of the night.
Eric Gehrig made his first ever MLS appearance when he come on for Emmanuel Ekpo in the 85th minute.
Around the 30th minute, the same time Connor Casey received his red card, something was going on in the Nordecke. The drumming of La Turbina Amarilla had stopped. And as LTA goes, so does the Nordecke. Literally. There were many reports of what occurred. People were saying Turbina were kicked out of the Nordecke for throwing stuff on the field; for having their drums in the wrong place; for being a fire hazard. Now, this story is the one being accepted by everyone. Supposedly, a Crew fan in section 101 (Crew Union) was complaining about the placement of Turbina’s drums, which were in section 142 (next to 101). He complained to security. Security talked to Turbina, but they obviously didn’t agree with what was going on. All at once, Turbina packed up their drums and left the Nordecke as the Crew Union and Hudson Street Hooligans chanted their name.
People believed Turbina were leaving the stadium entirely. However, a few minutes later, drumming started up in section 202, the closest upper deck section to the Nordecke. As people in the Nordecke saw that the heart and beat of their section had moved, they decided to move as well. In a mass exodus, the Nordecke emptied out and filled the upper deck, creating the Upperdecke. For the entire second half of the game, the Nordecke was together. For one of the first times since the glorious 2008 season and the beginning of 2009, the Nordecke was united as one again. All groups were mixed together, with no segregation between the Crew Union, Hudson Street Hooligans, La Turbina Amarilla, and the Yellow Nation Army. What started out as misunderstanding, ended up to be a blessing.
Columbus Crew – William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Josh Gardner, Eddie Gaven, Rich Balchan, Emmanuel Ekpo (Eric Gehrig 85), Bernardo Anor, Andres Mendoza (Justin Meram 68), Tommy Heinemann (Jeff Cunningham 68).
Colorado Rapids – Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 68), Pablo Mastroeni (Ross LaBauex 75), Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith, Conor Casey, Quincy Amarikwa (Omar Cummings 46).
The Crew play next against the Richmond Kickers of the USL Pro Division on Tuesday, June 28th in the U.S. Open Cup. The Rapids play the Houston Dynamo at home on July 3rd.