Draw does little to brighten Crew's tough week
COLUMBUS – The Crew entered Saturday’s match against visiting FC Dallas looking for any bit of sunshine to brighten an otherwise bleak week.
They lost controversially 1-0 at Mexico’s Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday, in part because of a disallowed goal. The Crew had a beef with the call and the explanation of it afterward.
Adding insult was a groin injury to one of their top players of late, midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo.
Then, the organization learned it will not host the final for the tournament named after its founder if it wins Wednesday at D.C. United in a semifinal of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The championship will be hosted by D.C. United, Seattle Sounders FC or Chivas USA on Oct. 5.
Finally, attempts to bring in two players to complete the 24-man roster meander. Peruvian forward Andres Mendoza likely won’t get FIFA clearance until Thursday, while Swiss defender and 2010 SuperDraft pick Kwaku Nyamekye might not get a work visa until Sept. 10.
The ray of hope never came for the Crew despite the pregame dedication of a statue of their late owner Lamar Hunt.
Of course, Hunt Sports Group also operates FC Dallas, so any intervention from above was probably neutralized as the 0-0 result in front of 16,708 fans in Crew Stadium would testify.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
“It wasn’t a good performance on our part, but in this long stretch of games we’ve had to get a point, we’re not going to complain too much,” midfielder Danny O’Rourke said.
The Crew (12-5-5) might consider themselves unlucky.
Chad Marshall had a shot blocked by the Dallas (9-2-10) defense early in the match, and Andy Iro’s header was cleared away in the 60th minute. Also, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s shot was knocked off the goal line by Dallas defender Zach Loyd in the 68th.
The Crew had more chances in the second half, but goalkeeper William Hesmer was forced to stop Eric Avila in the 78th minute and Brek Shea five minutes later to keep Dallas scoreless. His ninth shutout of the season is one shy of the team record.
“I thought Hesmer came up with some big saves, some timely saves,” Hartman said.
FC Dallas had the better of the play at the onset.
“The first half we were a little bit slow,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “Maybe that was because of the travel and the outcome of that game. In the second half we picked up the tempo, and we created some chances. I was very happy with the way we played.”
More than his players were.
“We’re disappointed with the tie,” defender Chad Marshall said. “We didn’t play well offensively. It’s good to keep the zero, but we need to play better in the offensive third, especially at home in front of the big crowd.”
The Crew dropped to 9-2-1 at home while Dallas established a league record with their 10th straight game without a loss on the road (3-0-7). The old mark had been held by the Crew and the Chicago Fire.
“[Crew Stadium] is a difficult place to play,” Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman said. “I think we consider ourselves fortunate to continue the streak.”
Fortune was not smiling on the Crew.
“We created enough chances to win,” Warzycha said. “The locker room is quiet. They know we should get three points. Every time we’re at home we should get three points. We tried very hard, and we played a good soccer team.”