Recap: Crew vs. Joe Public
Emilio Rentería’s penalty kick in the 50th minute gave visiting Columbus the lead and he added an insurance tally in the 80th as the Crew defeated Joe Public FC of Trinidad 4-1 on Thursday in the final match of group play in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The longest tenured Crew member, midfielder Duncan Oughton, capped the night with a rare goal in the 90th minute.
Columbus (4-2) clinched second and the final quarterfinal spot Tuesday courtesy of Santos Laguna’s win over Municipal. Joe Public had one tie in its first five games and was playing out the schedule.
Andres Mendoza put Columbus up with a header from a Jason Garey cross in the 20th minute but another strange call in the tournament allowed Joe Public to convert a penalty by Trent Noel to level the score in the 27st.
But Columbus took the lead for good when Leandre Griffit sent a service into the box where rookie defender Josh Williams’ snap header hit the hand of a Joe Public player.
Renteria, who entered to start the second half for Mendoza, promptly converted the ensuing penalty kick, and then converted a breakaway opportunity in the 80th minute to seal the win.
The only pulsating moment in the first half was the dubious penalty call that referee Stanley Lancaster gave to Joe Public that enabled the Eastern Lions to tie the match in the 27th minute.
Lancaster first pointed toward the spot even though it was hard to discern what Crew had committed a foul. The Crew argued that the play was offsides anyway and after conferring with the side official, Lancaster agreed momentarily.
Then he changed his mind and Noel calmly beat Andy Gruenebaum with the ensuing penalty kick.
Both teams rested regulars in anticipation of domestic tilts this weekend, although Joe Public had seven starters from their semifinal win in the First Citizens Cup on Friday.
The Crew leaned heavily on their bench. Williams, a September signee, made his second CCL start but has yet to play in MLS. Rookie midfielder Dilly Duka still has more minutes in the Champions League, as do Griffit and Oughton.