On a night when two sets of offenses sputtered in the cold Ohio winter and midfielders on either side struggled to string their passes together, the brightest performance came out of Columbus' defense in the shape of Andy Iro.
With so many of the Crew's old hands cut loose in the team's radical offseason overhaul, Iro found himself wearing the captain's armband and was given the task of marshaling a brand new defense, two of whom played in college last year, and the other having played in South America his whole career.
Iro, who enjoyed a significant upturn during the 2010 season, took the leadership with great aplomb, putting in a mature performance to shut down Real Salt Lake's newly-minted Designated Player, forward Alvaro Saborio. He had a dominant game in the air and showed great deal of positional sense, while also displaying a great deal if patience and maturity in leading his unfancied side to a draw.
While the two red cards against Real Salt Lake certainly eased the pressure on Iro and the Crew defense, Crew fans can take heart in the fact that once Chad Marshall returns from injury, their teams will still have a solid defensive core despite their turbulent offseason.
Rookies Rich Balchan and Cole Grossman also had fine games for the Crew, while Ned Grabavoy played a solid game for Real Salt Lake alongside Kyle Beckerman, with the pair ensuring the Crew would struggle to create in the center of the field.
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