COLUMBUS, Ohio — Coming off a road victory over the New England Revolution last week, Columbus Crew SC were looking to start a streak. That’s exactly what they did in their first home win of the season, a 1-0 shutout over FC Dallas, Saturday afternoon.
The first half was the best soccer Columbus has played this season. Gaston Sauro scored his second goal of the season off a corner kick in the 10th minute. His header didn’t provide Jesse Gonzalez with any chance to make a save. Although he had never scored for the club prior to this season, Sauro now is tied for the team lead in goals with forward Gyasi Zardes. Pedro Santos got the assist on the goal, his second in as many games.
”I’m happy because I’m Gyasi Zardes now,” Sauro said with a smile and a laugh, “I’m happy for the team to win…I’m going to go for the Golden Boot.”
On defense, the Crew held Dallas to just one shot and none on goal. Sauro was as dominating on the backend as he has been on attacking set pieces. Although Dallas had the bulk of possession, it was unable to get anything going in the final third, creating only two total chances.
Mar 16, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC mascots SC (l) and Crew Cat (r) before the match against FC Dallas at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
“The first game we gave up the first goal,” Columbus coach Caleb Porter said. “It’s great in the last two games to get the first goal and get the two clean sheets. Without a shadow of a doubt, the first half was our best half this season. We wanted to take the good play box to box against New York…and mesh that we the good mentality and defending we had against New England…in the first half we saw that complete identity.”
The second half began with more life from FC Dallas, which nearly scored after Wil Trapp had a poor turnover in midfield, allowing Paxton Pomykal to get a one-on-one against Zack Steffen. But Steffen extended his body, getting enough of the ball to slow it before Sauro made the final clearance as it rolled towards the goal line. Though Dallas would get a few more shots off on the day, only one would be on frame as Columbus held on for the win.
The Crew face a daunting task as they go for three wins in a row. The team travels to Philadelphia next Saturday down five starters as Justin Meram, Steffen, Trapp, Waylon Francis, and Zardes will all be with their respective national teams.
“We’ll keep growing as a team and prepare 20 guys every single day,” Porter said. “You’re going to lose guys on international duty. You’re going to have to rotate. I never lose sight of that. I need everyone.”