As the sold-out crowd roared and celebrated his first goal at home, Erik Hurtado stood still with his right fist raised and his left arm tucked behind his back. While the party raged the stands, Hurtado’s quiet moment evoked the timeless picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.  

It was a moment when Hurtado was once again at the center of attention.  

For the second time in as many games, the 31-year-old forward scored for the Columbus Crew, and on Saturday night, he provided the club its lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC at Lower.com Field.  

After the match, Crew head coach Caleb Porter said he was pleased to see the goal, but he was disappointed the points were shared.  

“Even though it’s a draw, it’s a disappointing draw from the standpoint of we’re up, 1-0,” Porter said. “There’s a lot of excuses we can make, but we need to start getting results and not finding excuses, and I think for me it’s the collective mentality.” 

The Crew took the lead in the 41st minute when Derrick Etienne Jr., who stood at the halfway line, played a no-look through ball toward Miguel Berry atop the 18-yard box. Charlotte failed to clear the ball, and the visitors instead pinballed it back and forth in the box. From there, Hurtado only needed one touch to slot the ball into an open net.

“I couldn’t have scored those goals without my team,” Hurtado said about scoring in his second-straight game. “They’re playing me the balls. Derrick played me two great balls – one in this game and one against (Atlanta United FC). The team came together and pushed through to fight to the end of the game, so I think everyone is a leader on the team.” 

The home side allowed a goal four minutes into the second half, however, when Andre Shinyashiki scored his fourth goal of the season.  

“Learning from this game, those are moments that we have to continue to improve in because we have our nose in front, we're up 1-0, and we're playing very well,” Porter said about giving away the lead at home. “Then, from there, I just thought our response for the next 15-20 minutes wasn't what I wanted. Again, you can justify it a little bit with guys out but for me, anybody that's going to be playing for us has to have a strong mentality and have a response.” 

The Crew was without key starters, however, as Lucas Zelarayán, Artur, Pedro Santos and Jonathan Mensah, were kept out with injuries. But that allowed other players to step in and two Crew 2 players made their MLS debuts, while Kevin Molino returned to action following his ACL injury last August.  

Jacen Russell-Rowe became the first Crew 2 player to make an appearance for the first team in league play when he entered the match in the 85th minute. In stoppage time, Mo Farsi also made his MLS debut.  

“What we've seen from them … is that they earned the right to be on the bench and to get into the game based on their performances,” Porter said. “That's the type of club that we've built.  

“We're vertically integrated and we need that tension from Crew 2 pushing some of the bottom end of our roster and in some cases overtaking guys that you know, maybe aren't performing or are starting to get more mature where we need a succession plan for younger guys coming through. And you know, I'm not a big believer in just token young guys playing or getting opportunities, they have to earn it.” 

Next up for the Black & Gold is a road trip out west to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m., ET. The next match at Lower.com Field is July 3 against the Philadelphia Union.

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