Fully fit Gaven the difference maker in return for Crew

Veteran midfielder heads home the winner to stop 6-game slide

Eddie Gaven

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Eddie Gaven was unsure how many minutes he could give the Crew on Sunday vs. DC. United. A bruised right leg had kept him out since Aug. 5.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to go 45, 60, 90 [minutes],” the veteran midfielder said. “It was all about whatever the team needed me to do and tonight it was to go the whole game.”

As it turned out, an hour would have been enough.

Gaven scored his fifth goal of the season on a diving header in the 60th minute to rally the Crew to a 2-1 victory that ended a six-game winless streak and revived their hopes of winning the Eastern Conference.

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The Crew (12-12-8, 44 points) are a point behind first-place Sporting Kansas with two games left.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to win,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “That tastes sweeter than usual.”

The Crew missed Gaven’s tireless efforts on the right flank during a 0-5-1 skid and were knotted with D.C. at 1-1 after Daniel Woolard scored for the visitors in the 37th minute then put in an own goal 11 minutes later.

“You always want to have Eddie Gaven on the field,” defender Danny O’Rourke said. “He brings so much to the game that goes unnoticed. He makes good runs. You wouldn’t know he’s been out a month doing a little bit of fitness here and there. He’s running all over the place. He’s a smart player. He rarely makes a bad decision.”

Gaven only resumed training two weeks ago but has always been one of the fittest players on the team.

“Even though I couldn’t play, I could run to stay fit,” he said. “I knew I was able to come back soon. I didn’t know when. I kept trying to work hard to make sure I was fit when I came back. Tonight was my chance.”

Gaven took advantage of some lax defending to cut toward the penalty spot as Sebastian Miranda delivered the service from the right side for the winner “He served me a perfect ball,” he said. “I was going to hit it with my foot but for some reason – I really don’t know why – I dived for it, closed my eyes and hoped for the best.

“Usually I just hit that with my foot,” he added. “I don’t know why I decided to hit it with my head but I did and fortunately it went in.”