Apr 28, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC defender Harrison Afful (25) shoots the ball on goal and scores in the first half against the San Jose Earthquakes at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Columbus Crew SC ended a four-match winless streak by defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium.
In his Crew SC opener, midfielder Mike Grella netted the winning goal in the 84th minute, beating Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell through traffic.
“It wasn’t our best night,” said Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter. “Again, we gave up a goal at the stroke of halftime. At the end of the day, you come out with three points and it’s one of those things that feels better because you got the win.”
Crew SC led the whole way, jumping out to a 1-0 advantage in the 28th minute on Defender Harrison Afful’s perfect strike just under the crossbar. Columbus had several quality chances to add on in the first half, including a dangerous cross by Pedro Santos in the 39th minute.
Forward Danny Hoesen put San Jose on the scoreboard in the 45th minute with a Header off a brilliant cross by Florian Jungwirth.
Crew SC came out strong in the second half with early chances. Zardes missed on a point-blank rebound in the 51st minute that was deflected away.
On Superhero Night at MAPFRE Stadium, Grella played the hero, sending home the game winner in the 84th minute after coming off the bench in the 65th minute for Niko Hansen.
“I think he did well, I think he gave energy,” Berhalter said. “I like what I saw, definitely.”
On a chilly spring evening, it was another sparse crowd at MAPFRE Stadium, amid off-field distractions about the club’s potential move to Austin, Texas, in 2019. Chants of “Save The Crew” could be heard in the 89th minute.
Crew SC (4-3-2, 14 points) had collected only one point in their previous four games, a 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution last weekend at MAPFRE Stadium, undone by a lack of scoring.
The Quakes (1-4-2, 5 points) extended their winless streak to six games.