The Columbus Crew got their fifth goal of the season - from as many players - but could not hold the lead against San Jose on Saturday afternoon. Justin Morrow's equalizer ensured that the teams split the points in the Columbus home opener.
Columbus, opening their home schedule after splitting their first two road games, weathered an early flurry of possession from San Jose. Jairo Arrieta, Federico Higuain and Dominic Oduro all combined positively as the Crew started to gain a foothold against the reigning holders of the Supporters Shield.
Ben Speas took the game's first shot, a rolling shot in the 12th minute, but it was Chris Wondolowski who had the first bona fide scoring chance two minutes later. Andy Gruenebaum was up to the challenge, however, falling to his right to grab the ball cleanly.
Through most of the first half, Columbus showed a developing chemistry between the attacking quartet of Arrieta, Higuain, Oduro and Speas. While the Earthquakes paid close attention to Higuain, the Argentine playmaker drifted to the flanks, allowing Oduro or - more often - Speas to step inside.
This interplay was nowhere more evident than the 35th minute, when each player contributed to an attack that ended only when Dominic Oduro's close range shot was blindly kicked out by San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
In the second half, after making a pair of relatively early substitutions (Tony Tchani and Ethan Finlay replacing Agustin Viana and Dominic Oduro), the Crew finally found their goal. Federico Higuain's service from in front of the Nordecke sailed over the first group of defenders and was met by Glauber, whose well-struck header to the near post squeezed past Busch and Rafael Baca.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Crew were victimized at times from the flanks. Starting from Wondolowski's opening shot there were several chances that emerged from outer edges of the midfield - and would eventually produce San Jose's only goal.
Four minutes after taking the lead, right back Josh Williams was caught out of position in the Crew's defensive half as he challenged Ramiro Corrales for the ball. Corrales played the ball into Williams' right edge, finding overlapping defender Justin Morrow with yards of space in any direction. Morrow shot precisely with Chad Marshall attempting to recover, striking the ball off the inside of the far post to restore parity in the 73rd minute.
Columbus continued to press over the game's final quarter hour, but the game's last scoring chance fell to substitute Sam Garza in the 78th minute. That opportunity went begging, however, as he elected to try and chip Andy Gruenebaum rather than feed Chris Wondolowki at the far post.
What it means
The draw leaves the Crew with a 1-1-1 record, with four points earned through three games. Columbus is five points behind the pace set by Montreal, who are a perfect 3-0 over the same period.
Columbus travels to Washington DC next weekend to face rival United, while San Jose returns home to face Seattle. The Crew's next home game will come in two weeks against Philadelphia.
Timeline of Events
3' Corner kick, San Jose (left side - headed clear by Glauber)
36' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - headed out)
36' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - headed shot from Williams saved by Busch)
45' Corner kick, San Jose (right wide - headed clear)
61' Tony Tchani replaces Agustin Viana
63' Ethan Finlay replaces Dominic Oduro
67' Corner kick, San Jose (left side - headed out)
68' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - goal)
69' 1 - 0 Glauber (Federico Higuain)
72' Corner kick, San Jose (right side - cleared)
73' 1 - 1 Steven Morrow (Ramiro Corrales)
77' Justin Meram replaces Ben Speas
77' Sam Garza replaces Shea Salinas
85' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - no shot taken from Meram)
87' Caution, Victor Bernardez (professional foul on Jairo Arrieta)
88' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - headed off target)
Andy Gruenebaum, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl, Danny O'Rourke, Agustin Viana (Tony Tchani 61'), Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 63'), Ben Speas (Justin Meram 77'), Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta
Matt Lampson, Chad Barson, Matias Sanchez, Ryan Finley
San Jose Earthquakes
Jon Busch, Ty Harden, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Shea Salinas (Sam Garza 77'), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales, Adam Jahn, Chris Wondolowski
David Bingham, Brad Ring, Walter Martinez, Cordell Cato, Nana Attakora, Dan Gargan