A 93rd minute goal by substitute Chad Barrett gave the LA Galaxy a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night. Crew Stadium was sold out (21,203 fans) in anticipation of the battle between the two MLS conference leaders at the time.
With the win, the Galaxy extend their lead on the rest of the league. They are now sitting on 61 points (17-3-10). The Crew drop to 11-11-8 (41 points), while also losing their hold on the top of the Eastern Conference. They are currently tied for second behind Sporting Kansas City, and are behind the Houston Dynamo by one point. The Crew are o-4-1 in the last five games.
The Crew held their own against the Galaxy for the entire match, even though Coach Robert Warzycha used an unfamiliar 4-5-1 formation. However, Columbus couldn’t pull through to earn a tie. In stoppage time, Landon Donovan ripped a shot from a half-volley near the right edge of the penalty box. Crew goalie William Hesmer made a fine save, but Chad Barrett beat defender Sebastian Miranda to the loose ball. Barrett finished with a first-time shot with his left foot, putting the ball into the empty net.
Former Crew captain Frankie Hejduk started the game at right back and also captained Los Angeles. He received a very warm reception from the Nordecke and the rest of the stadium in his first game back since being released at the end of last season.
The Galaxy’s three designated players didn’t start the game. David Beckham was in LA, Robbie Keane picked up a glute injury on Wednesday, and Landon Donovan didn’t enter the game until the 62nd minute.
Crew forward Emilio Renteria made his first appearance since picking up a concussion versus Toronto on September 10th. El Toro Negro came on in the 65th minute for Josh Gardner.
The Crew travel to take on Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, in their first ever trip to LiveStrong Sporting Park. Both teams are sitting on 41 points. The Galaxy are at home on Wednesday, as they take on Morelia from Mexico in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Columbus Crew: William Hesmer; Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Shaun Francis; Danny O’Rourke, Dilly Duka (Cole Grossman 89’), Josh Gardner (Emilio Renteria 65’), Robbie Rogers; Emmanuel Ekpo, Andres Mendoza.
LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Frankie Hejduk, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Bryan Jordan; Chris Birchall (Landon Donovan 62’), Juninho, Michael Stephens, Paolo Cardozo; Miguel Lopez (Mike Magee 68’), Adam Cristman (Chad Barrett 84’).