COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the midst of a club-worst five-game losing streak, the Columbus Crew needed a win. Facing the LA Galaxy, the second best team in the league, while on short rest seemed like an extra tall task.
But, as it turns out, the Crew were up to it. Not only did they get the win Wednesday night, but the 3-1 score line was their largest margin of victory this season and the most goals they’ve scored in a game.
“The group was excellent. They deserve all the credit,” Columbus head coach Caleb Porter said. “It was a really complete performance. I told them before the game, this is the one. This is the one where the floodgates will open. I’ve been in this sport a long time, and they have as well. You get your heart broken in this sport. We’ve had our heart broken quiet a bit. But I also told them the reason we keep coming back is because we fall in love again. There’s nothing better. Tonight, we all were seduced again.”
The high octane offense was a surprise sight, as Columbus had only scored nine goals all season before tonight. Gyasi Zardes got the goals started in the 27th minute as he got a slight touch on a fantastic curving cross from Robinho. Federico Higuain got a secondary assist on the play, breaking a tie with Robert Warzycha for the most assists in Crew history at 62.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve worked with,” Porter said in praise of Higuain. “He always brings his lunch pail and is ready to work. That’s pretty rare for a talent like him.”
The Galaxy looked disinterested in the first half, and the second half didn’t provide any upgrade. In the 53rd minute, Higuain was given far too much space, and scored his first goal of the season to double the Columbus lead. Zardes got the assist.
The most surprising goal came thirteen minutes later as former Galaxy player Hector Jimenez scored on a ball that took a deflection from a sliding defender. It was the first goal for the versatile player in five years, and just the sixth of his career.
May 8, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC head coach Caleb Porter and assistant coach Pablo Moriera give instructions to midfielder David Guzman (9) before he enters the match against Los Angeles Galaxy at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Without the worry of needing to score late goals, Porter was able to give David Guzman his team debut. Guzman just came over from the Portland Timbers earlier in the week, and was subbed on in replacement of Higuain.
The Galaxy were able to pull back a goal late, as Daniel Steres scored on a set piece in the 87th minute to prevent a shutout. Sebastian Lleget got the assist.
Coming into Wednesday, the Crew were riding a five-game losing streak, team record in the non-shootout era.
Columbus won’t have long to relish in their victory, as they have another tough game ahead and face league leaders LAFC on Saturday. Despite the massive disparity in market size and payroll, the team will be ready.
“I know the team I have. I know the players I have,” Porter said, “I made some mistakes in this transition, but I usually don’t make the same mistake twice. My point is, with this group, you’ll never hear me talk about not having talent. You’ll never hear me disrespect my guys. But in saying that, I know the team I have. We’re not going to have more talent than an LA or an LAFC. So how do we win? We win with the team…the team that’s together, 11 guys in soccer, can beat individuals.”