Three goals in 20 minutes, including Salgado's first in MLS, spice up the match.
Columbus came out and dominated possession right after kickoff, but the visitors got the first shot off through skipper Terry Dunfield, but the effort was not close. The visitors created much of the better chances in the first half, and in the ninth minute a Wes Knight effort stung the palms of Crew keeper William Hesmer, but it wasn't clear if the effort from out wide was a shot or just a cross that was mishit.
One again the visitors threatened, this time with a Davide Chiumiento effort that sailed high and wide after some sloppy Crew passing. Chiumiento has been in fine form to start the season, and he will be disappointed he did not do better. The home side finally gave visiting keeper Jay Nolly something to think about soon after from a short corner routine. Robbie Rogers shot from 25 yards out, and Nolly saved the swerving shot well.
Both teams lacked a killer touch in the first half and created half chances for the rest of the opening period. The best looks came from a couple of free kicks on either side of the penalty area for the Crew close to half time, but no clear cut scoring opportunities came out of the set plays. Vancouver looked a tough team to break down, as their organization off the ball was superb, and both teams played conservative football, meaning goals were looking unlikely once again at Crew Stadium.
Just five minutes into the second half, the home side got their chance to open the scoring. After a nice burst up the pitch by MLS debutant Josh Gardner, starting in place of the ill Rich Balchan, he attempted to play Robbie Rogers into space, but defender Johnathan Leathers got in the way.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball deflected back toward the Vancouver goal, wrong footing center half Greg Janicki, and forcing keeper Jay Nolly to make a play for the ball. However, he was just beaten to the ball by Emilio Renteria, and the committed Nolly felled the Crew striker. Referee Terry Vaughn awarded the penalty, and Renteria dusted himself off and promptly blasted his spot kick into the bottom corner.
It was a cruel bounce for the visitors, who looked very organized and disiplined in the back, and they could rightly feel the Crew were ahead from very little. There would be no such feelings about the second goal for Renteria and the Crew just nine minutes later, however.
A wonderful spell of possession saw no less than six Crew outfield players touch the ball in the attacking area before a perfectly weighted through ball by Dejan Rusmir found Renteria's foot. The Venezuelan rocketed a left foot shot past Nolly to give the home side a convincing two goal lead. It was a great all around goal from the Black and Gold, who kept possession for quite awhile before the Renteria finished clinically.
Vancouver did not resign themselves to defeat after the second goal, and they may have been helped out inadvertently by the home side. In the 66th minute, the Crew used their first sub to replace Kevin Burns with Emmaunel Ekpo, a somewhat questionable move, bringing on a attack-minded midfielder for a deep lying holding player while up two goals.
This move came into play four minutes later, as teenage striker Omar Salgado opened his MLS account with a class header over Ekpo, beating Will Hesmer to his near side. It was awell taken goal from the young striker, and it made for a nervy finish in Columbus.
The visitors nearly had a equalizer on a few occasions in the second half, and came closest just two minutes after Salgado's strike. After a cross into Salgado was sent back out wide by the young forward, a inch perfect Alain Rochat cross was destined for a goal when it came to substitute Nizar Khalfan at the far post. However, an inch-perfect challenge from Josh Gardner on the goal line saved a certain goal and kept the home side in the lead for the time being.
Omar Salgado was a bright spot for Vancouver, and he had a great opportunity to level the scores just four minutes later in the 77th minute, as Davide Chiumiento crossed to the teenager. After a bit of contact with William Hesmer, Salgado shot low and hard and forced a excellent save from the home side's number one.
While pushing forward for a equalizer, the Whitecaps left themselves vulnerable to a counter attack, and they were nearly punished for it close to the 90th minute, as substitute Jeff Cunningham found fellow sub Leandre Griffit on a three on two brek, but the Frenchman's effort went straight to Jay Nolly, who found himself untested since Renteria's brace.
Deep into stoppage time the Whitecaps had a chance to get a last gasp goal to salvage a point after Julius James was caught being a little too physical just outside the 18 yard box. The resulting free kick was not a quality one, though, and thankfully for the home team the full time whistle went seconds later.
It was a gritty effort from the visitors, and they were rather unlucky to not come away with a result. It is the Crew's sixth game unbeaten in the league after a opening day defeat away to DC United.
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