A rather lifeless display by the Columbus Crew on Saturday night resulted in a 1-0 away loss to D.C. United. Chris Pontius’ 49th minute goal was enough for the home team to come away with the full three points in front of a crowd of 14,640 fans.
The Crew’s 4-2-3-1 lineup remained the same from last weekend barring one exception: Milovan Mirosevic filled in for the suspended Cole Grossman in one of the two holding midfielder positions. D.C. lined up in a 4-1-3-2. Dwayne De Rosario partnered up top with Long Tan for United.
Columbus midfielder Dilly Duka created the first good scoring opportunity of the game in the fifth minute. He faked with his right foot in the box before cutting back to his left. His shot was heading straight toward United goalie Bill Hamid, but forward Jairo Arrieta practically redirected the ball at the last second, forcing a messy save.
Eight minutes later, De Rosario and Tan almost teamed up to give D.C. the lead. De Rosario sliced through the Crew’s defense at the top of the box and slotted a pass to Tan. Tan controlled the ball well, but his one-on-one opportunity was kicked saved by Gruenebaum, keeping the game scoreless.
Justin Meram created a nice shot for himself in the 39th minute, only forcing Hamid into making a rather easy save. Right before the half, Perry Kitchen got on the end of a long ball, taking him past Gruenebaum in the process. Unfortunately, his touch was a little strong, and he had to recollect himself before taking a shot. By then, Gruenebaum was back in position, but Kitchen’s shot still struck the left post.
D.C. grabbed the lead soon after the break. Nick DeLeon fought past defender Josh Williams on the right side of the field. DeLeon dribbled into the box, held off the Crew’s defense, and fired the ball across the face of the goal. Tan attempted to heel the ball into the net, but Gruenebaum was able to save. Unfortunately for Columbus, the ball fell directly to Chris Pontius, who simply blasted the ball into the empty net for the only goal of the game.
Pontius almost doubled United’s lead in the 58th minute after he surged through the middle of the field and got a shot off past Crew defender Chad Marshall. Gruenebaum made the save but gave up another big rebound to Pontius. This time, he only managed to slice the ball way over the bar.
Columbus had a few chances toward the end of the game. Dilly Duka had a shot saved and a cross roll untouched right in front of goal. In the closing minutes, Emilio Renteria pulled the ball back to Eddie Gaven. Gaven probably should have left the ball to an on running Tony Tchani. Instead, he tried to pull it back for Arrieta, leading to the ball being subsequently stolen, ending the game in D.C. United’s favor, 1-0.