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  • April 1, 2011
  • • 7:30 PM
  • • Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Referee: J. Marrufo
  • • Attendance: 14549
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Columbus Crew 2-0 FC Dallas: Crew capitalize on man advantage, get first win of 2011.

Columbus Crew 2-0 FC Dallas: Crew capitalize on man advantage, get first win of 2011.

Dallas can not get out of hole left by Jackson sending off.

Jackson Goncalves' two yellow cards in less than two minutes proved to be too much for the visiting team to overcome, as an Andres Mendoza penalty gave the Crew a lead they would not relinquish, and a stoppage time goal from Eddie Gaven added gloss to the 2-0 scoreline.

It was a physical game from the start, with referee Jair Marufo dishing out 5 yellow cards. The game was the first leg of the inaugural Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup, commemorating the founder of both teams and legendary soccer visionary Lamar Hunt.

First Half


After a disappointing performance on  dSaturday, the home side wanted to begin fast, and they had a chance just four minutes in. An Eddie Gaven corner created the opportunity, but the attempt by Andres Mendoza on the volley was not close.

Dallas fired back with a long-range effort by Jackson Goncalves, but Crew keeper William Hesmer made a effortless save on the weak effort.

The newly beardless Eddie Gaven had a brilliant game, and he made his intentions clear in the 10th minute, twice twisting and turning around marker Jair Benitez, who fell to the ground after a particularly good bit of skill by Gaven. A goal to end the fine display would not come, as Gaven's cross was not up to par with his dribbling.

The temperatures of the players was a degree higher than the air, and it took just 20 minutes for the first yellow to appear. It was given to Emmanuel Ekpo for a retaliation swipe on a foul he thought should have been whistled. It was dangerous stuff from Ekpo, who is known better for his dribbling prowess than tenacity.

Chances came at a premium this game, and a Robbie Rogers header from a Ekpo cross provided Kevin Hartman the first real warning that his goal would be threatened in minute 28. It would be a rare occurrence for the keepers in this match to have to make saves.

Next up was Will Hesmer, who had to make two saves in two minutes from Ruben Luna headers, first from a Fabian Castillo cross, then from a David Ferreira delivery. The home team's #1 was alert to the danger.

The game course was changed significantly ten minutes from half time. Jackson Goncalves saw yellow for a hard challenge on Dejan Rusmir in the 33rd minute, then just about 60 seconds later was given his marching orders for a equally hard and late tackle on the breaking Eddie Gaven. Both fouls were worthy of bookings. This forced Schellas Hyndman to drop David Ferreira farther back into the midfield to the spot vacated by Jackson.

However, the visitors had the last good chance near the end of the first half, as the always dangerous Ferreira was given a free kick late on, and he delivered a quality ball to the back post. In the resulting scramble, the ball was poked toward goal, but William Hesmer was able to smother the ball before any real opportunity could arise.


Second Half


The first change of the night was made at halftime, as the beaten up Rusmir made way for Emilio Renteria, and the move also signaled greater attacking intent from Columbus, as they now played a more traditional 4-4-2. Renteria made a instant impact, beating new Dallas center half Brek Shea down the right flank, but the target, Mendoza, could not get there.  

The home side had been the better team for the most part, and got the chance to take a lead in the 54th minute after Emmanuel Ekpo was sent through, and managed to get a touch before he was taken out by George John.

Stepping up for the Black and Gold was Andres Mendoza, and his penalty found the back of the net, albeit barely as backstop Hartman guessed correctly, but he could not get more than a finger on the spot kick. It was just the second goal of 2011 for the Crew, and both have come on spot kicks.

That would be the last meaningful action for Mendoza, as he made way for former Dallas star Jeff Cunningham in the 61st. It was almost a magical switch, as the Crew worked some slick passes together before Renteria back-heeled Cunningham through, but he could not find the target from more than 8 yards.

With ten minutes to time, Dallas sub Milton Rodriguez found enough space to get a header on target, but once again Will Hesmer made a save. It was a rough night for the visitors' attack, as they did not create much in the way of good scoring chances. To be fair, Columbus also had few true scoring threats.

Another almost super substitution in the form of Dilly Duka nearly clinched the full three points for the home side, but his left footed effort was just wide of Kevin Hartman's goal.

The visitors looked to escape with just a one goal deficit, but late into injury time Gaven sealed the win for Columbus with a expertly placed left-footed strike, leaving little chance for Kevin Hartman to do anything about. It was all Gaven's excellent performance deserved, as it was truly a man of the match showing from the midfielder.

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