Aidan Morris’ brace lifts the Crew past Real Salt Lake, 4-0

After a dirty south stomping of Atlanta United last week, the Columbus Crew was back at Field to face Real Salt Lake, a team the Crew hasn’t seen since 2018, on Saturday night. With the return of center back Milos Degenek and midfielder Lucas Zelarayan inserted back into the starting lineup after missing last week while on international duty, Columbus added more star power to a loaded attack. It worked out, with Columbus defeating Salt Lake 4-0 on the back of two goals from midfielder Aidan Morris.

It’s beginning to be a habit for the Crew to start on the front foot and attack early. The Black & Gold could’ve had a chance in the third minute when midfielder Alexandru Matan found forward Christian Ramirez, starting in place of Cucho Hernandez but his attempt was easily saved by Real goalkeeper Gavin Beavers.

The game started to pick up when Morris found the back of the net for the second game in a row in the 14th minute. Zelarayan received the ball inside the penalty box and played a nifty back heel which Morris collected and curled into the far side netting to give the Crew a 1-0 lead.

Columbus nearly doubled the lead minutes later off of a free kick, but Salt Lake was able to clear the danger.

Goalkeeper Patrick Schulte was forced to make his first save of the game in the 32nd minute, when Real began a dangerous attack and got a shot on goal. The second-year player got low to keep the ball out and hold the score at 1-0.

The Black & Gold doubled their lead in the 41st minute when Zelarayan got tripped in the 18-yard box, giving the home side a penalty kick. The Argentine was able to convert the spot kick, stuttering on his take to see which way Beaver leaned, and give Columbus a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

Just eight minutes into the second half, the Crew started an attack that saw Zelarayan and midfielder Darlington Nagbe play a give-and-go. Nagbe fired a hard shot on goal but Beavers fumbled the low-driven shot, Morris the opportunity to punch it home for his second on the night, improving the Black & Gold’s lead to 3-0.

Schulte came up big for Columbus throughout the second half, making multiple saves in a span of five minutes. The Crew goalkeeper stood tall and kept the Crew in the lead 3-0 as time dwindled down.

The Black & Gold weren’t done, however. After a series of changes, second half substitute Yaw Yeboah got in on the scoring action with what would be the last kick of the game, finishing a chance created by nice dribbling from forward Max Arfsten from close range, giving Columbus the 4-0 lead and ultimately the three points.

The Crew held on for yet another victory and Schulte got his first clean sheet in MLS and his second win on the season.

Aidan’s world

The Orange County, Florida native has said he wants to score more goals this year. With his first career goal last week and his brace tonight, Morris is doing just that this season.

Add this to Morris’ tenacity and energy on the field and his improved play on the ball and the Crew has found another talented midfielder. The 21 year old is only going to get better throughout the year, which could be scary for opposing teams.

Columbus cruising

The Crew is cruising. Registering nine goals in two games has started to establish the Black & Gold as a threat in the Eastern Conference. Head Coach Wilfried Nancy has the team focused and once again gave the hometown crowd something to celebrate on Saturday.

It’s early in the season, but Columbus is playing as well as anyone in MLS these last two weeks.

What’s next?

The crew is on the road next week against D.C. United. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET from Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

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