Reaction: Speas, Williams lead Crew to victory in D.C.
Crew history was made at RFK Stadium on Saturday. Second-year midfielder Ben Speas scored a 58th minute match-winner in the Black & Gold's 2-1 victory over D.C. United to become the club's first Homegrown player to score in an MLS match and end United's 18-match home-unbeaten streak.
The Stow, OH native and fans alike hope it's the first of many more in the winger's young playing career.
"It's just nice to score. It's nice to get your first one. Hopefully, there is a lot more to come, but it's nice to get my first one," Speas said after the match.
On the morning of August 5, 2012, Speas and his teammates learned of the passing of Kirk Urso while staying at a Washington, D.C. hotel following a 1-0 loss to D.C. United the night before. Returning to the Nation's Capital, Speas made it a mission to net his first tally and dedicate it to his beloved teammate's memory.
"This is the place we found out about Kirk, so it was pretty emotional," Speas explained.
"I thought about that yesterday and I knew my first goal was going to be to him and I wanted to get it today. It's just special."
It seemed as if D.C. United was primed to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Substitute Kyle Porter beat Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum one-on-one as the referee's assistant held his flag up high to signal D.C. forward Lionard Pajoy was offside, but head referee Allen Chapman failed to notice and did not sound his whistle.
However, after a few moments of deliberation, the goal was disallowed to keep the match deadlocked at 1-1 going into the break.
"I saw [Pajoy] offside," defender Josh Williams recalled the sequence. "I'm looking across the line and I see him in an offside position. I kind of stopped and everyone else stopped. Then I see a blur go streaking down and I'm thinking he's onside."
"I think the first two guys that were offside affected the play enough for [the goal] to be called back as an offside," leftback Tyson Wahl added. "That's clearly what I was trying to argue with the refs and I think from the first point on the refs had it in their mind that they were going to call that back, I could tell."
Though the tally was waved off, the Crew learned a valuable lesson to keep playing until the whistle blows.
"Even though the flag was up, we still need to take a couple seconds and chase the ball a little bit," Williams said. "It's a lesson learned and hopefully next time we'll continue to play on."
Cleveland-Akron area natives Ben Speas and Josh Williams provided the tallies in the Crew's 2-1 victory. With nine players hailing from Ohio on the Crew's roster, an all-Buckeye State scoreline was bound to happen at some point for the Black & Gold.
"Someone's gotta try and keep up with LeBron because this guy keeps doing it every day," Speas joked after the match. "It's nice to have two Cleveland boys get the goals. They could come from anywhere but it's nice for us to score."
"It's a Cleveland-Akron combination, how about that?" Williams added. "It's always good to contribute and then Benny got in there, I'm glad he got his first MLS goal."
With his second goal of the season, Williams currently leads the Crew in scoring. Always a danger on set-pieces, the defender will hope to extend and hold onto that lead for the rest of the season.
"I told everybody I was looking to go for the Golden Boot this year," Williams joked postgame. "I'm just happy to contribute on the offensive end. I'm definitely going to rub it in to the forwards a little bit, as long as I can hold onto it as much as I can."