After Scoreboard Fire Crew Rout United

In the blustery Saturday night air of Columbus Ohio, a banner depicting the words “Light ‘Em Up” flew in the wind. No one knew how literal that sign would turn out to be. A half hour before the Columbus Crew’s home game against rivals DC United was scheduled to kick off, the Crew scoreboard burst into flames. An apparent speaker malfunction, the game was delayed for almost an hour as the teams went back into the locker room after the pre-game warm-ups. Once the teams came back out onto the field, fears of muscle injuries and enquiries into the Crew revamped lineup were among the talking points from the 14 thousand people in the stands.

Scoreboard Fire

Coach Robert Warzycha elected to make a number of changes to the team that had been unchanged for the last month. Tyson Wahl was dropped the bench, with Agustin Viana dropping back to left back from his position in the midfield. Tony Tchani was brought into the team to sit beside Danny O’Rourke. Also, Jairo Arrieta came back into the team as the main striker, with Ben Speas dropping to the bench and Dominic Oduro moving to the right wing position. Youngster Konrad Warzycha made the 18 for the first time this season. DC United field an expected lineup with danger man Dwayne de Rosario operating behind Lionard Pajoy, although Chris Pontius was out with an injury.

The game started a very even pace, and an early thigh injury to Agustin Viana meant that Tyson Wahl was back into the team sooner than expected. Once the two teams got a few minutes to feel each other out, it was the home side that took the initiative. Jairo Arrieta was an absolute handful all night for DC and his positive endeavor led to the opener in the 14th minute.  An Eddie Gavin cross from the right was brought down beautifully by the little Costa Rican in the box, and his quick thinking to round a challenge in the box gave him enough space to pick out Dominic Oduro in front of the goal. It was just the start the Crew wanted after failing to score last week against the Fire. There was a moment of controversy in the 23rd minute, when a DC goal was called offside by the linesman. Upon looking at the replay, it seemed as though it was the wrong decision. The Crew was lucky this time, but the next 25 minutes of the half would prove to be anything but luck. Great pressure from Danny O’Rourke in the midfield was a staple of the night, and he proved to be the catalyst that the Crew needed to mount attack after attack on Bill Hamid in the DC goal. Jairo Arrieta also had a monumental game, showing Robert Warzycha that he’s still an important part of this team. Every time the DC defenders thought they had a moment for a breather, Arrieta was in their face. Constantly buzzing around the shoulder of the last defender, DC had no answer for the little man and Jairo deservedly picked up the MOTM award after the game was over. 

The Crew doubled their lead through the impressive Josh Williams.  A corner from Higuain in front of the Nordecke in the 26th minute was met by the Crew right back whose shot had enough power to beat Hamid. Finally, in first half stoppage time, a brilliant piece of passing from Gavin and Arrieta resulted in Jairo being chopped down in the box for a Crew penalty. Higuain’s finish was never in doubt and the Crew took an astonishing 3-0 lead into the locker room at half time. DC United would have felt unfortunate by the score line because they had some great chances in the first half to put themselves on the board, but the finishing from the Crew was clinical.

The second half was played at a slower pace than the first half, with the Crew happy to let DC maintain most of the ball and possession. DC created a few wonderful chances to get a consolation goal, but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Andy Gruenebaum was superb in goal. Andy almost got beat at his near post from a first half shot from Kyle Porter, but recovered and put in another impressive performance.  Konrad Warzycha was sent onto the pitch in the second half for his first appearance of the season. The youngster deserved it for his work ethic in training, and it’s good to see the inexperienced players getting some playing time for the Black and Yellow.  In the end, the game ended 3-0 to the Crew, with Columbus jumping to a 3-2-3 record with 12 points. DC United fell to 1-6-1 with 4 points and last place in the Eastern Conference.

It’s hard to pick out the right words for how brilliant this team performance was. I can’t think of a single player that didn’t put it all out on the line for the team, but particularly impressive was Danny O’Rourke. The Crew veteran was all over the place, pressing the DC midfield and winning the ball back in crucial areas of the pitch. If it wasn’t for the performance by Jairo Arrieta, Danny would have been a shoo-in for MOTM. Another player who deserves to be singled out for his play was Eddie Gavin. As the old saying goes, if you have Eddie Gavin you have a chance. During parts of the game, it seemed as though Eddie had cloned himself, he was in so many areas of the pitch. This was a real team effort and it’s a great thing to see this team gel at the right time with so many important matches coming up in the near future.  The Crew’s next game is at home to the New York Red Bulls.

(image courtesy of Matt Ellis/

About Dustyn Richardson

Managing editor and Houston Dynamo writer for Total-MLS. Fan of all Houston sports teams and Manchester United supporter. Still angry at Bud Selig for moving the Astros to the American League.