Crew defeats LA Galaxy 2-0 to end dry spell

After back-to-back disappointing results, the Columbus Crew is back to their winning ways in MLS. The Crew rolled to a 2-0 win against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night at a once-again sold-out Field. 

Following a devastating last-gasp goal leading to the Crew’s draw with Orlando City SC on Saturday, the Black & Gold were able to keep the scoreline in their favor and hold onto a 2-0 halftime lead on Wednesday. Columbus now moves into fifth place in the Eastern Conference for the time being on 18 points, while the LA Galaxy drops into 14th place in the Western Conference on nine points.

The first 10 minutes of the match saw the Crew start strong with several promising counter attacks and the bulk of possession but the team was not able to get a shot off. Some shaky defending from center back Gustavo Vallecilla caused concerns, though the Galaxy was not able to capitalize on those moments in the Black & Gold penalty area. 

In the 13th minute, a defining save from goalkeeper Patrick Schulte denied an all-but-sure goalscoring opportunity spurred on by a darting run from LA midfielder Raheem Edwards. Not phased by the 1 v. 1 counter attack, Schulte’s imposing figure and reflexes were enough to thwart the shot away and out for a corner. 

In the 24th minute, a threaded ball met forward Cucho Hernandes, who was only against the Galaxy goalkeeper with time on his side. Hernandez attempted to chip the ball over the goalkeeper, though without getting the height needed to lob him, LA goalkeeper Jonathan Bond easily caught the ball.

Hernadez’s embarrassment didn’t last very long, as he played an integral role in the build-up to the Black & Gold’s opener in the 25th minute. Following the dismal attempt to chip just a minute prior, Hernandez dribbled through and past three Galaxy defenders at midifeld and threaded the needle for a sublime pass to a waiting Lucas Zelarayn. The playmaker cut the ball to his right past one defender before slotting the ball home in the bottom right corner to put the Black & Gold ahead 1-0. 

Just before the whistle to signal the end of the first half, defender Malte Amundsen found the back of the net in his first MLS start for the Black & Gold. The Dane leaped to meet a cross from Alexandru Matan with his 

Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic had a near miss in the 50th minute, with his shot from inside the box landing just wide of the left post. 

The Galaxy’s closest chance of the night came in the 60th minute when U.S. international forward Tyler Boyd hit the right post off of a shot from inside the penalty area. 

The Black & Gold were quieter in attack in the second half, and the few close attempts they had were snuffed out by the Galaxy defense. A breakaway from Matan in the 90th minute tested the opposition as the Romanian winger danced around two LA defenders, but Matan’s shot was ultimately deflected by Galaxy defender Jalen Neal. 

Following four minutes of added time, the Crew comfortably rounded out the second half, holding onto their 2-0 halftime lead. 

Coach Wilfried Nancy made notable changes to the lineup, giving recent signing defender Malte Amundsen his first MLS start for the Crew, electing to start forward Christian Ramirez up top alongside forward Cucho Hernandez, and playing midfielder Alexandru Matan in right-wingback as opposed to his natural position on the wing.

The Black & Gold were without several key players, most notably Milos Degenek, who suffered an injury in the 2-1 loss to Inter Miami on April 29th. Others who remain on the Crew’s injury list are goalkeeper Eloy Room, who has yet to see the field since the 2-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls on March 18, defender Will Sands, defender Josh Williams, midfielder Luis Diaz, and midfielder Kevin Molino. 

The Black & Gold play their next MLS match on the road against Ohio rivals FC Cincinnati in the “Hell is Real” derby on May 20th. 

Amundsen Heroics

It surely hasn’t taken long for the recent signing of Malte Amundsen to earn the trust of the Black & Gold faithful. The defender played as a left wing ack in his first MLS start for the Crew and was arguably the best player on the pitch. Amundsen scored a goal, completed 100 percent of his attempted crosses, 80 percent of his attempted passes, and recorded eight recoveries and five interceptions. Although Will Sands is surely missed on the left flank, tonight’s performance was a promising start to life in Columbus for Amundsen. 

Back to Winning Ways?

The 2-0 win against the LA Galaxy couldn’t have come at a better time for the Black & Gold. Following a draw and two losses in their previous three MLS matches, a win and a solid performance all around will surely benefit the players’ mentalities and confidence going forward. With a match-up against local rivals FC Cincinnati up next, Wilfried Nancy will be pleased to see his team get a result before such an important match. 

Attendance History on the Horizon

Tonight’s match marked the fourth consecutive sell-out of Field and the fifth all season, with the attendance reaching 20,192. The only previous time that Field was sold out in four consecutive matches was in 2022 from June 18-July 23.

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