The Columbus Crew conceded two late goals on Saturday afternoon to lose, 2-1 in Toronto for the first time in team history. It was the second consecutive game with a late collapse after last weekend's 2-0 loss to New England.
Dominic Oduro gave the Crew an early lead, catching Joe Bendik cheating off his near post in the 17th minute. The goal came against the run of play after Toronto won four corner kicks in the opening quarter hour.
Toronto nearly equalized a few minutes later, but Justin Braun's cross was stopped dead in front of Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who snatched up the loose ball before anyone from the home team could convert.
Two more scoring chances came Toronto's way later in the first half, but Agustin Viana - in his first league action since April - recovered to blunt both changes. The most dramatic came in injury time, when Viana reached in on a delicate slide tackle and cleared the ball away from Jeremy Brockie as the New Zealand international bore down upon Gruenebaum.
Ryan Nelsen made a pair of changes at halftime, sending on Andrew Wiedeman and Reggie Lambe in place of Justin Braun and Jeremy Hall.
Despite the changes, the second half was largely a stalemate until the closing minutes. Neither team produced many dangerous scoring chances, and attacking possession itself was at times hard to come by. The weather hampered both teams' coherence significantly, as a rainstorm built throughout the second half.
The Crew's best scoring chance of the second half came from a free kick in the 68th minute. Jairo Arrieta was ridden to ground at the edge of the penalty area by Doneil Henry. Federico Higuain attempted to sneak the ball in at the near post but missed wide by several yards.
Warzycha began making changes in the 78th minute, pulling Agustin Viana after the defender came up holding his groin from a slide tackle. Chad Barson replaced him in an even swap.
Bernardo Anor and Arrieta each had promising attacks in the late going, but Arrieta's cross from the left side was stopped in the 85th minute. A minute later, Anor touched delicately past two defenders and had a look at goal, but his left-footed effort was off lifted off target.
With the rain reaching incredibly ferocity, the Crew's defensive wall cracked in the 87th minute. Jonathan Osorio's run from midfield caught Marshall flatfooted, and the midfielder received a slick one-touch pass from Bobby Convey before tucking a shot inside Gruenebaum's left post.
Toronto almost grabbed a lead moments into stoppage time, but Steven Caldwell's header off a corner kick bounced off the face of the post and back into play.
The second goal finally came, however, in the final minute of added time. Again the goal came from the left side, with a ball into space behind the defense. Andrew Wiedeman got just enough separation from Marshall, and at full stretch flicked the ball back across Gruenebaum and nestled inside the left post.
What it means
The loss was the Crew's first in Toronto, and just the second ever in team history. The team's record against Toronto is now nine wins, eight draws and two losses.
In league play, the Crew fall to 6-5-10 (W-T-L), and remain in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Their 23 points are one fewer than Chicago, and six behind Houston for the final playoff spot. The Fire and Dynamo face each other later today, potentially increasing the Crew's long odds at a playoff berth.
In the Trillium Cup contested annually by Toronto and Columbus, the two teams now sit deadlocked with one win apiece. The trophy will be awarded following the third and final meeting between the clubs, August 17th in Columbus.
Columbus travels to Houston next Saturday for a game against the Dynamo, before returning home for matches against New York (August 10) and Toronto (August 17).
Timeline of events
5' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - grabbed by Gruenebaum)
8' Corner kick, Toronto (right side - headed clear)
9' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - short, cleared)
13' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - headed clear)
17' 1-0 Dominic Oduro (Matias Sanchez)
45' Andrew Wiedeman replaces Justin Braun
45' Reggie Lambe replaces Jeremy Hall
58' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - headed clear)
59' Corner kick, Toronto (right side - header blocked)
64' Caution, Bernardo Anor
68' Caution, Doneil Henry (professional foul on Jairo Arrieta)
72' Caution, Richard Eckersley (professional foul on Chad Marshall)
76' Alvaro Rey replaces Ashtone Morgan
78' Chad Barson replaces Agustin Viana
80' Corner kick, Toronto (right side - headed out)
81' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - headed clear)
86' Ethan Finlay replaces Dominic Oduro
87' 1-1 Jonathan Osorio (Bobby Convey)
88' Caution, Jonathan Osorio (taking off jersey)
90' Justin Meram replaces Bernardo Anor
90' Corner kick, Toronto (left side - header off the post)
94+' 1-2 Andrew Wiedeman
Andy Gruenebaum, Josh Williams, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana (Chad Barson 78'), Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 86'), Wil Trapp, Matias Sanchez, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 90'), Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta
Matt Lampson, Kevan George, Konrad Warzycha, Ryan Finley
Joe Bendik, Richard Eckersley, Steven Caldwell, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan (Alvaro Rey 76'), Jonathan Osorio, Jeremy Hall (Reggie Lambe 45'), Matias Laba, Bobby Convey, Jeremy Brockie, Justin Braun (Andrew Wiedeman 45')
Stefan Frei, Gale Agbossoumonde, Kyle Bekker, Darel Russell