The Columbus Crew won their first game of the 2013 season on Saturday night, defeating Chivas USA behind goals from Federico Higuain, Josh Williams and Dominic Oduro. The win was the team's first since 2005 when playing Chivas on the road.
Columbus dominated the first half, holding a roughly two-to-one edge in possession through the first 45 minutes. Despite the advantage, however, the teams entered halftime scoreless. In fact, Chivas had the more dangerous scoring opportunities thanks to some ill-timed giveaways in the Columbus defense.
The second half began as a mirror image to the first. Where the Crew held the ball for almost the entire first five minutes of the game, it was the home team who dominated the early minutes of the second half. A pair of substitutions at the half (Miller Bolanos and Juan Agudelo replacing Giovani Casillas and Julio Morales respectively) provided some of the spark that Chivas had been missing in the first half.
Before Chivas could capitalize on their advantage, however, it was the Crew who struck with the game's first goal. Federico Higuain curled a long range shot delicately off the far post, leaving goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to throw up his arms in frustration.
After the goal both teams were able to create the occasional scoring chance, with Chivas enjoying a slight edge. Both Bolanos and Agudelo had solid scoring chances, but between them managed to put only one of six shots on frame.
While Chivas used all three of their substitutions before the hour mark (Bobby Burling replacing Laurent Courtois in the 56th minute), Crew head coach Robert Warzycha waited until the 76th minute to make any changes of his own. When he did he appeared to gut the team's offense, replacing Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain with rookie Ryan Finley and Tony Tchani.
With all the plot lines in place for a late concession and eventual disappointment, however, it was the Crew's turn to produce the late fireworks. Josh Williams doubled the Columbus advantage in the 87th minute, turning a corner kick inside the far post with a wicked right-footed shot.
Dominic Oduro provided the final margin of victory, stripping the largely ineffective Tristan Bowen at the top of the Columbus penalty area and sprinting more than 80 yards before touching the ball around Kennedy and burying a shot into the open net.
Columbus continues their two-game road trip next weekend with a game in Vancouver before returning for the home opener on March 16th.
1' Corner kick, Columbus (left side, taken short and cleared)
8' Caution, Julio Morales (late tackle from behind on Chad Marshall)
20' Corner kick, Columbus (left side, punched clear for corner)
20' Corner kick, Columbus (right side, too long)
27' Corner kick, Chivas (right side, too long)
28' Caution, Eric Avila (foul from behind on Eddie Gaven)
45' Miller Bolanos replaces Giovani Casillas
45' Juan Agudelo replaces Julio Morales
52' 1-0 Federico Higuain (Jairo Arrieta)
56' Bobby Burling replaces Laurent Courtois
59' Corner kick, Columbus (right side, headed shot by Marshall off target)
75' Caution, Tristan Bowen (reckless foul)
76' Ryan Finley replaces Jairo Arrieta
76' Tony Tchani replaces Federico Higuain
79' Caution, Marvin Iraheta (tackle from behind on Dominic Oduro)
84' Corner kick, Chivas (left side, taken short and shot blocked)
87' Corner kick, Columbus (right side, goal by Josh Williams)
87' 2-0 Josh Williams (Eddie Gaven)
91+' Caution, Bobby Burling (late challenge on Tony Tchani)
92+' Corner kick, Chivas (right side, taken short and shot deflected)
94+' 3-0 Dominic Oduro (unassisted)
Andy Gruenebaum, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl, Danny O'Rourke, Agustin Viana, Dominic Oduro, Eddie Gaven, Federico Higuain (Tony Tchani 76), Jairo Arrieta (Ryan Finley 76)
Matt Lampson, Drew Beckie, Matias Sanchez, Ethan Finlay, Ben Speas
Dan Kennedy, Walter Vilchez, Joaquin Velazquez, Mario de Luna, Giovani Casillas (Miller Bolanos 45), Marvin Iraheta, Laurent Courtois (Bobby Burling 56), Edgar Mejia, Eric Avila, Tristan Bowen, Julio Morales (Juan Agudelo 45)
Jose Correa, Carlos Alvarez, Tim Melia, Josue Soto