In the first half of Saturday night’s game, the Columbus Crew looked dominant and doubled its lead in stoppage time. By the end of the second half, though, it was Orlando City SC scoring its second goal in stoppage time.
The 2-2 draw at Lower.com Field wasn’t the cliché tale of two halves – it was just that the Crew was unable to deservedly score more and had to settle for a point. Ultimately, head coach Wilfried Nancy said his side can use the frustrating result as a learning lesson for later this season.
“(It’s) difficult because the way we conceded the two goals, I know that we have to go through that because we need more experience at certain moment, and they have to go through that,” Nancy said. “The way we conceded the two goals, shouldn't happen. Simple as that. Because we were not in danger. We were not in danger and we had the possibility to clear the ball a few times but we didn’t do it and there is bit of a rush and lack of composure instead of being more composed with the ball to control it and win this ball, simple as that.
“It's frustrating a bit because we were in control of the game, we were close to scoring the third one and the fourth one, and we ended up 2-2.”
The captain, Darlington Nagbe, gave the Crew an early advantage when he was the recipient of a quick build up in the 39th minute.
Columbus won the ball with a press, then Yaw Yeboah slotted a pass to Cucho Hernández. As the Colombian dribbled toward goal, he guided the ball right to Alexandru Matan, who then rolled it across the goal to the back post, where a wide-open Nagbe tapped it into the net for his first goal in 2023. The assist was Matan’s fifth of the year, which leads the club.
The Crew doubled the lead two minutes into first-half stoppage time when Jacen Russell-Rowe scored his second goal of the campaign.
Similarly, to the first goal, the Crew’s second was well produced and involved playing teammates into space for simple finishes. With Columbus controlling possession outside the box, Cucho played a ball to Mohamed Farsi, who crossed it toward Russell-Rowe to double the lead.
The visitors trimmed the deficit four minutes into the second half, however, when Ercan Kara finished an Orlando counter by tucking the ball past goalkeeper Patrick Schulte.
The Black & Gold thought they reclaimed a two-goal lead in the 64th minute when Cucho scored on a counter attack, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR decision. The Crew continued searching for a third goal, but wasn’t able to put another past Pedro Gallese.
Instead, it was Orlando who scored late and equalized the match in the 92nd minute when the visitors were to capitalize when Columbus was unable to clear a corner kick in second-half stoppage time.
“This is more about, if I’m going to stay positive and I’m going to say two weeks ago we were in control of the game but we didn’t win,” Nancy said. “Now, we were in control but we tied. So, we have to be a little bit better to make the right play at the right moment. But the second half was also good, we had the chances and we were on the front foot also, and at the same time we were able to manage the game and at the same time, we were able to manage the game but we didn’t make the play when it was the good moment.”
The Crew now has a quick turnaround following Saturday’s draw, as the Black & Gold welcome a Western Conference original — LA Galaxy — on Wednesday night at Lower.com Field. Tickets are still available for what will be the club’s third match in eight days before the Hell is Real Derby on Saturday night down south.
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