Columbus Crew SC welcomed Orlando City SC to MAPFRE stadium for the first time and had no plans on letting them continue their away match points streak. This home game was one that Columbus was looking forward to for a while as they had about ten thousand miles of travel in the past week in order to return home to their fortress.
The beginning stages of the match were very exciting as each team had their chances. Both sides play a very similar possession style of soccer which can lead to many opportunities at goal and this match proved that to be the case. The goal that broke the game open came off of a defensive gaff by Rafael Ramos in the six yard box; Ramos seemed to have lost concentration and taped the ball to a clear space right in front of attaching Ethan Finlay who played a beautiful cross into Higuain. Higuain played a lovely back heal flick past Ricketts for the one goal advantage. It was shortly after the goal that Ramos again put his team at a disadvantage through his stupidity…
Ramos got knocked off the ball in his attacking third and appealed for a call to the side referee, when he did not get the call he sought obvious retaliation on Columbus’ Francis and went in studs up to the knee/shin area with no regard for the ball. The tackle was dirty and bush league at best and just down right childish and malicious. Ramos deserved to be sent off and deserves a further ban from the MLS disciplinary committee.
A 10 man Orlando side still had their share of chances in the remaining time before half but none of them came to fruition. After halftime is when Columbus began to pull away from the Lions. Justin Meram netted his second goal of the season in the 55th minute off of a steal from Kamara because Orlando took too much time to clear the ball from the box. Five minutes later Kei Kamara put the game completely away by scoring a beautiful high looping ball over a charging Ricketts. Higuain fed Kamara a fantastic ball which led to the goal and the 3-0 score line with 30 minutes still left to play.
Columbus Crew SC was not done attacking, they knew they had already won this game but they wanted to let future opponents know that the MAPFRE fortress showed no mercy. Kamara had a goal called back for offside but from some replay angles it looked as though the goal should have counted as an own goal… probably did not help that Mr. Kamara celebrated as if he got the touch on it.
Federico Higuain: Through most of the games thus far Pipa has been relatively quiet, has a couple of brilliant passes here and there but had yet to make his mark on the game as he had been known to do in the past, but this week Pipa showed that he still has the ability to control games with his vision, first touch, and play making ability. Higuain had a goal and an assist in the game but had much more of an impact than even that score line. Grade: A
Kaka’s shorts: Soccer players have always pushed the line in the opposite direction when it comes to athletes and short length. In an era where the length seemed to be getting longer and longer, soccer players held on to short shorts with a firm grip… Kaka decided to take this to the next level and wear shorts that are more similar to boy shorts that can be found at any women’s underwear department. Nobody wants to see that no matter how famous, legendary, or Brazilian you are. Grade: D-
Steve Clark: As long as he keeps getting shut outs (3) I will keep giving him a grade. The defense had a lot to do with this shut out (as they usually do) but this game Clark only had to make three saves, none of which came from the boot of Kaka.Grade: A
Uniform Matchup: Columbus Crew SC and Orlando City SC will have the best jersey combination for a game until the end of time. Call it the Fruit of the Loom bowl or something because the Purple grape jerseys combined with the all yellow banana jerseys make for excellent viewership. Grade: A+