Columbus' Robbie Rogers was the only player to find the back of the net as the Crew picked up their fourth straight clean sheet.On a dismal night in Columbus, a lone Robbie Rogers tally was just enough to give the home side a tight 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City, which high-flying offense never got off the ground thanks to constant winds near 20 MPH and a steady rain that became a deluge later on. Chances were at a premium, but the lone moment of class by Rogers was the difference.
Less then 30 seconds into the match the first shot was fired by Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven, but his early effort well above goal. This shot may have raised hopes that the game would be an entertaining one. However, this was the only chance for nearly a quarter of an hour as opposing keepers Jimmy Nielsen and William Hesmer often played long balls to each other.
The visitors had a bright patch from about the 15th minute until the 30th, and this period began with a poor Crew pass intercepted by Kei Kamara, and the forward's low drive was kick saved by keeper William Hesmer after some slick passing by Sporting.
Off of a free kick by Milos Stojcev, rookie C.J. Sapong tested Hesmer again in minute 27, but his header was right at the Crew number one, and a good chance for the visitors was not taken. Kei Kamara had a chance close to half time, but his left-footed effort from just outside the 18 went high. Halftime came very quickly, as neither team could create much in the way of scoring opportunities, thanks in large part to the terrible weather conditions.
The active Kamara had a good sight on goal after the referee judged Dilly Duka's challenge to be too high for his liking. Unfortunately, his attempt did not clear the wall, and once again a chance to nick a goal in what for all the world looked destined to be a scoreless draw went by.
In what would prove to be a key moment, Sporting center half Julio Cesar was booked for a challenge on Emilio Renteria, though the card was a contentious one as very little contact was made and the advantage was there to be played.
The home side had looked largely nonthreatening until minute 53, when they created a goal out of very little. After a good dribbling run by impressive Crew midfielder Dilly Duka went unrewarded by the referee after he felt he was fouled, the ball found its way to Kevin Burns, who lofted a ball in back towards Duka, and the undersized midfielder managed to get just enough on his header to get the ball to a full steam ahead Robbie Rogers, who burst past his marker to get off a left footed strike that just eluded the foot of Jimmy Nielsen and found its way into the net.
Dilly Duka's ability on the ball was put on display in the second half, and just four minutes after the goal off a deep throw in he mesmerized two Sporting markers and then went for goal, but Nielsen was there to bail out his team.
After a typically workmanlike shift from Emilio Renteria, Crew boss Robert Warzycha decided that it was time to bring on another battering ram in the form of the giant Tommy Heinemann in minute 67. The substitution nearly became inspired just after entering, as a goal kick by Jimmy Nielsen was knocked down by a particularly strong gust of wind, and the fresh Crew striker headed through for a sprinting Robbie Rogers, who's delightful square ball for Eddie Gaven looked to have killed the game off, but once again the Sporting backstop gave his team a lifeline with a fine sprawling save.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors as Julio Cesar picked up a second yellow in the 72nd minute after he was tumbled by some nice footwork from Tommy Heinemann, and the Brazilian compunded matters by stopping the ball with an outstretched hand, leaving referee Juan Guzman no choice.
A few minutes later the wind and rain really picked up, but that did not seem to stop the home supporters from cheering on their team, which was in the lead more than a little surprisingly. The Black and Gold had one more chance to kill the game off late on, as once again Tommy Heinemann danced past a marker, and his cross from the left may have been helped to Dilly Duka by another Crew sub Jeff Cunningham. Duka layed it off for the oncoming Emmanuel Ekpo, but his shot was well blocked. After just two and a half of the indicated four minutes, the referee decided that was enough, and his whistle gave the Crew their second consective home win and fourth clean sheet in a row.
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