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Nine-man Columbus Crew overcome Indy Eleven in US Open Cup

The Columbus Crew, reduced to nine men after the ejection of Adam Bedell and Dan Paladini, improbably scored a late winner to defeat the Indy Eleven on Tuesday night in US Open Cup play. Bernardo Anor opened the scoring, while Jairo Arrieta converted a penalty kick six minutes from the end of extra time.

The game was a see-saw affair, with each team dominating their opponent for long stretches. Columbus scored first in just the fourth minute when Bernardo Anor headed home a Ben Speas corner kick. Columbus took the first seven corner kicks in the game, spread through the first half.

While the Indy Eleven started gaining a foothold in the match after the first twenty minutes, it was the ejection of Adam Bedell in the 32nd minute that seemed to doom the Crew's chances. Bedell was initially only cautioned for a reckless tackle on Indy's Chris Estridge, but was subsequently ejected by the referee after consulting with his assistants.

Columbus initially weathered the storm of being down a man, but as the second half kicked off it was Indy who aggressively pushed their advantage. Lacking a target forward who could receive clearances, and with Tony Tchani increasingly dropping into the back line to deal with opposing pressure, it seemed only a matter of time until the Crew's defense broke.

The equalizer came just after the hour mark when left winger Blake Smith pounced on a Crew defense that had been pulled out of position. Moments after Ethan Finlay missed over the crossbar, Indy charged down the left flank and caught the Crew defense flat on a cross. The ball came to Smith in space in the penalty area, who rifled a shot past Steve Clark.

Neither team could find a deciding goal in regulation, forcing the teams to play a 30-minute extra time. The Crew's chances then took another hit in the 110th minute when Dan Paladini was ejected for elbowing Brad Ring in an off-the-ball confrontation.

With the prospect of penalty kicks looming, however, Columbus was thrown a lifeline. Ethan Finlay - one of the Crew's most dangerous attackers all night - was chopped down just inside the left edge of the penalty area, drawing an unambiguous penalty kick. Jairo Arrieta calmly stepped up and converted to send the Crew into a 2-1 lead that the team successfully defended for the last six minutes.

Columbus will next face the winner of Wednesday's game between the Chicago Fire and Pittsburgh Riverhounds. That fifth round game will be played on June 24th or 25th.

Columbus Crew on the road

Tuesday's game was played at an unusual venue - the University of Akron's FirstEnergy Stadium, two hours northeast of Columbus. It was not the first time that the Crew has played elsewhere in Ohio, however. In 2005, the Crew played an Open Cup game against Dallas at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, and in the early years of MLS the Crew played exhibition games in Dayton and Solon. This game drew a respectable crowd of 1,913 - slightly larger than previous years' Open Cup games.

Timeline of events

4' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - headed goal by Anor)
4' 1-0 Bernardo Anor (Ben Speas)
10' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - punched by Nicht)
12' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - no shot taken)
15' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - short, foul called)
25' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - punched)
25' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - headed over crossbar by Bedell)
26' Caution, Pedro Ferreira-Mendes (dangerous foul on Eric Gehrig)
31' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - no shot taken)
32' Ejection, Adam Bedell (reckless tackle on Chris Estridge)
46+ Caution, Andrew Corrado (professional foul on Ethan Finlay)
46' Don Smart replaces Pedro Ferreira-Mendes
58' Corner kick, Indy (right side - cleared by Williams)
58' Ben Spencer replaces Mike Ambersley
62' 1-1 Blake Smith (Don Smart)
67' Chad Barson replaces Bernardo Anor
70' Corner kick, Indy (right side - long)
72' Jairo Arrieta replaces Ben Speas
76' Dylan Mares replaces Oghenefejiro Okiomah
78' Caution, Chris Estridge (dangerous tackle on Ethan Finlay)
80' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - long)
94' Caution, Morales (professional foul on Jairo Arrieta)
102' Justin Meram replaces Hector Jimenez
105' Caution, Corby Moore (reckless tackle on Ethan Finlay)
110' Ejection, Dan Paladini (flagrant foul play on Brad Ring)
112' Caution, Steve Clark (delay of game)
113' Penalty kick, Ethan Finlay fouled by ???
114' 2-1 Jairo Arrieta (penalty kick)


Columbus Crew
Steve Clark, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Michael Parkhurst, Bernardo Anor (Chad Barson 67'), Dan Paladini (sent off 110'), Tony Tchani, Hector Jimenez (Justin Meram 102'), Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta 72'), Ethan Finlay, Adam Bedell (sent off 32')

unused subs
Dan Withrow, Tyson Wahl, Ben Sweat, Kevan George

Indy Eleven
Kristian Nicht, Chris Estridge, Oghenefejiro Okiomah (Dylan Mares 76'), Erick Norales, Andrew Corrado, Blake Smith, Corby Moore, Brad Ring, Victor Pineda, Pedro Ferreira-Mendes (Don Smart 45'), Michael Ambersley (Ben Spencer 58')

unused subs
Jon Dawson, Jaime Frias, Andrew Stone, Walter Ramirez

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