MINNEAPOLIS – A blistering day on the turf at TCF Bank Stadium saw Columbus Crew SC leave Minneapolis with three points and a, 1-0, victory against Minnesota United FC. Kekuta Manneh’s second goal of the season and his second in three matches powered the Black & Gold to a victory on Independence Day.
Manneh received a pass near midfield from Crew SC captain and midfielder Wil Trapp in the 58th minute and dribbled to his right before masterfully firing a shot left toward the far post that eluded Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth and put Columbus ahead for good.
The goal was the 24th of Manneh’s MLS career and came in his first start since May 26 against Toronto FC. The assist was the third of the season for Trapp.
Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Co. recorded their fifth clean sheet of the 2017 Major League Soccer Regular Season. The 55th minute saw Steffen make a huge diving save on a free kick by Minnesota that preserved the shutout.
Crew SC clinched the three points on short rest after a match against Atlanta United FC at MAPFRE Stadium just three days ago.
The attacking statistics were in favor of the Black & Gold throughout the match. Crew SC had more shots (14-6), shots on target (3-1), shots off target (9-5), and corners taken (4-3) than United on Tuesday in Minneapolis.
Columbus (9-10-1, 28 points) stayed above the playoff line in the MLS Eastern Conference while Minnesota (5-11-3, 18 points) remains four points out of the final spot in the Western Conference.
Crew SC will have the next 12 days off from play due to Major League Soccer’s 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup break. The Black & Gold will return to action when they play a friendly against German Bundesliga-side and DFB Pokal-finalist Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday, July 17 at MAPFRE Stadium in what will be a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Columbus returns to MLS action on Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET at home against the Philadelphia Union.
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Referee: Rubiel Vazquez
Assistants: Craig Lowry (bench side), Jeff Muschik (far)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar
Weather: Partly cloudy
58’ – CLB – Kekuta Manneh (Wil Trapp)
MIN – Ibson (Caution) 9’
CLB – Zack Steffen (Caution) 90’+1’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Lalas Abubakar, Alex Crognale, Nicolai Naess (Josh Williams 35’); Hector Jimenez, Wil Trapp ©, Mohammed Abu, Jukka Raitala; Ethan Finlay, Ola Kamara (Adam Jahn 90’+3’), Kekuta Manneh (Justin Meram 63’)
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Waylon Francis, Connor Maloney, Artur
Minnesota United FC: Bobby Shuttleworth; Kevin Venegas, Jerome Thiesson, Joseph Greenspan, Justin Davis, Ismaila Jome (Bashkim Kadrii 77’); Kevin Molino, Sam Cronin ©, Ibson (Miguel Ibarra 77’), Abu Danladi (Collen Warner 43’); Christian Ramirez
Substitutes not used: Patrick McLain, Rasmus Schuller, Collin Martin
Start No. 1
Crew SC rookie defender Lalas Abubakar made his first career MLS appearance and start in the match against Minnesota United FC. Abubakar played all 90 minutes alongside fellow rookie centerback Alex Crognale and recorded six interceptions, headed three clearances and won four balls aerially.
New look Crew SC
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter employed a unique lineup on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Berhalter chose not to use his usual 4-2-3-1 and started a 3-4-3 formation that included a start by Abubakar and rest for Black & Gold scoring leaders Justin Meram and Federico Higuain.
Major League Soccer will be on hiatus from July 7-18 due to FIFA International Break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Before Crew SC goes back to work in MLS play, they will face German Bundesliga-side and DFB Pokal-finalist Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. at MAPFRE Stadium in a friendly matchup.