Following a controversial penalty call and a 40+ yard screamer by midfielder Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew rallied up two goals in five minutes to seal the victory against Orlando City and new manager James O’Connor.
The game was scheduled for a 7:30pm kick-off, but was delayed for over 35 minutes due to inclement weather at the venue for the match-up at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. But that didn’t distract Orlando City’s Yoshimar Yotun unleashing a rocket 90 seconds into the game, and clipping Zack Steffen’s right post.
It was all OC, and finally a breakthrough occurred when they took the lead from Sacha Kljestan’s finish. It was a well-worked goal from the defence up, with right-back RJ Allen getting a cross into the open area around the penalty spot, for Kljestan’s right foot to make contact.
After an interview earlier in the week, some people on social media were saying that Sacha was getting “too old” to play, and he responded by celebrating with a limp in his walk and holding his back. About ten minutes later, a scuffle occurred after a wild karate kick attempt by Crew centre-back Jonathan Mensah, striking OC midfielder Tony Rocha in the back of the head. This got Chris Schuler, centre back for Orlando City, angry at Mensah, before confronting him. Both players received a caution from head referee Silviu Petrescu.
Six minutes later, Pedro Santos of Columbus had a great chance on goal, but rookie forward Chris Mueller came to the rescue, making a goal-saving tackle. And after this, it appeared that Mueller accidentally stepped on goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr, forcing Edwards to come off due to an apparent ankle injury. Recently benched Joe Bendik came on for Edwards Jr in the 31st minute of the match. Nothing else really happened in the first half, besides a caution for Sacha Kljestan. The halftime whistle arrived, and Orlando City looked comfortable with a 1-0 lead going into the 2nd half.
The second half got underway, and it took Columbus Crew just five minutes to equalise. Gyasi Zardes with the finish, earning him his 12th goal of the season (Niko Hansen with the assist), tying NYRB’s Bradley Wright-Phillips for 2nd place in the golden boot race. Orlando City retook the lead seven minutes later, in the 58th minute. Stefano Pinho with the goal. To some Columbus fans, this was a bit controversial, as many thought Crew forward Gyasi Zardes was fouled at the other end of the pitch, but no call was made. This was also a very well-worked goal, with Orlando midfielder Yoshimar Yotun taking up past a few Crew defenders, before Kljestan finally let it off to a wide open Pinho in the box to tuck it home, making it 2-1 to Orlando City, with just over 30 minutes to play.
Now this is where all the controversy, all over social media occurs. In the 88th minute, Patrick Mullins of Columbus Crew goes down into the box from an apparent charge in the back by OC’s RJ Allen. After a few minutes of players pleading Petrescu going to VAR to check on a dive, and he was having none of it. Straight to the penalty spot. And to most of Orlando fans (including myself), this was a dive in the box, but not to Silviu Petrescu.
Gyasi Zardes stepped up, went right, and slotted it past goalkeeper Joe Bendik, making it all square going into additional time. Columbus Crew played a short corner in the 92nd minute of the match, and young midfielder Wil Trapp unleashed a bolt into the top right corner, from an estimated 42 yards out, sealing the three points at the brink of the match.
After this week, Orlando City goes back home to play New York City FC on Thursday for some fun midweek MLS matches. Columbus Crew travel to New Jersey to play New York Red Bulls for a classic Saturday night match-up.
Written by Max – (@Dwyer_AndCo)