Crew View: Comebacks not ideal situation

Columbus flipped the score on RSL but would prefer to hold a lead

Crew in over RSL second half comeback

Photo Credit: 
Josh Couper/TheCrew.com

They may not quite be the Comeback Kids, since they have managed only
one win after trailing — Wednesday vs. Real Salt Lake — thus far in
2011, but match after match, the Crew are adding points.

The latest rally resulted in a 2-1 victory after going down in the
seventh minute before becoming the first team in two years to score
twice in the final 15 minutes on RSL.

WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

It took a penalty kick by Andrés Mendoza in the 76th minute and a
deflected strike by left back Josh Gardner in the 82nd for the Crew to
end a five-game winless streak. During the 0-2-3 stretch, all five of
the Crew goals were equalizers. The sixth came when Mendoza scored after
rookie Justin Meram drew the foul.

“Without a PK, I don’t think [the Crew are] scoring a goal,” RSL
midfielder Kyle Beckerman said after the match. “It happened and they
got a little momentum.”

Gardner’s goal marked the first time Columbus (4-3-6) led in six games,
a stat compounded by allowing a goal before the 10th minute four times
during the span.

“I think we showed that we are well-prepared to mount comebacks,” Crew
defender Sebastián Miranda said. “Unfortunately, it is not ideal to
start matches down a goal. It would be nice to start and finish matches
winning, but the important thing is this team has the strength and
willpower to continue to fight until they get the result.”

Columbus are 1-0-4 when losing at halftime. FC Dallas are the only
other team to win after trailing at the half, and the Crew are 1-3-4
when giving up the first goal for a .375 percentage, second only to the
LA Galaxy’s .400 average.

“We would love to avoid [allowing early goals], but what is important
is the result at the end of 90 minutes,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha
said.

NOT THIS TIME

Everyone in Crew Stadium assumed Jeff Cunningham would take the PK
that, if successful, would have given him 133 goals to tie the MLS
career record of Jaime Moreno, as well as set a club mark of 63.

Mendoza later said he didn’t know Cunningham was going for the records
or that Warzycha had designated Cunningham to be the shooter.

Beckerman was surprised when Cunningham yielded after Crew captain Chad
Marshall attempted to convince Mendoza not to go to the spot.

“They tried to get [Cunningham] to take it and I think Jeff told them
that’s all right because Mendoza was pretty set on taking it,” Beckerman
said. “I’m sure he’ll get the goals.”

WHAT A CHANGE

When the teams met in Columbus in February in the CONCACAF Champions
League quarterfinals, the temperature was about 70 degrees colder than
the 94 on Wednesday.

“It was nuts,” Beckerman said. “It’s been really weird being around the
same places; just the difference in your mind. There were no leaves on
the trees, no grass being seen. It was a little different this time.”

BY THE NUMBERS

6 – Straight regular-season wins vs. Real Salt Lake in Crew Stadium.
5 – Penalty-kick goals out of the 13 overall scored by the Crew.