The Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-1 in the final game of MLS Reserve League East Division action. United was forced to play most of the game with 10 men after midfielder Austin da Luz was ejected early in the match. D.C. forward Joseph Ngwenya opened the scoring in the first half before trialist Walter Chevez, Emilio Renteria and Bernardo Anor all tallied for the Crew.
The Crew Reserves, champions of the East Division, finish the season with a league-best 9-1-0 record and 27 points, while D.C. ends the season with a record of 5-1-4 and 19 points.
The match began with high intensity as both teams were looking for an early goal. In the 10th minute, Renteria headed an Anor cross barely wide, while Ngwenya’s shot in the 16th sailed in the arms of Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. A minute later, Justin Meram tried to spring Anor into the box but the Venezuelan failed to connect with the pass.
In the 25th minute, da Luz was ejected for a hard tackle on Renteria forcing United to play down a man the rest of the match. But only five minutes later, the visitors would get on the board first when Ngwenya took advantage of a defensive mishap on a rebound and easily tapped the ball in giving D.C. a 1-0 advantage going into the second half.
Just three minutes after intermission, Chevez, a second-half substitute, headed a Meram cross into the back of the net to bring the teams level.
Both teams continued to go back and forth creating chances for each side and in the 71st minute Meram was brought down in the box by United defender Devon McTavish, forcing referee Sorin Stoica to point to the penalty spot. Renteria took the shot and easily converted, giving the home side the 2-1 advantage.
As the match wore on, D.C. continued to attack looking for an equalizer which almost came in the 82nd when Alex Riggs came off his line to clear a ball, but defender Josh Williams came up big with a goal-line block. Williams and fellow center back Eric Gehrig were exemplary throughout the match.
Right before the final whistle, Columbus tallied the insurance goal on a breakaway by Renteria who found an open Anor at the top of the box. The rookie forward picked up the ball and after dribbling his defender, easily slotted the ball to the right of United keeper Joe Willis.
Columbus Crew 3, D.C. United 1
MLS Reserve League – Crew Stadium
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
D.C. – Joseph Ngwenya (Unassisted) 30
CLB – Walter Chevez (Justin Meram) 48
CLB – Emilio Renteria (Penalty) 72
CLB – Bernardo Anor (Emilio Renteria) 89
D.C. – Austin da Luz (Ejection) 25
D.C. – Devon McTavish (Caution) 57
CLB – Emilio Renteria (Caution) 85
D.C. United – Steve Cronin (Joe Willis, 46), Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic (Brad Vorv*,65), Devon McTavish, Pat Foss*, Brandon Barklage, Stephen King, Conor Shanosky, Austin da Luz, Joseph Ngwenya, Blake Brettschneider (Charles Chapin*,78)
Substitutes not used: none
COLUMBUS – Andy Gruenebaum (Alex Riggs, 46), Korey Veeder (Ben Sippola, 65), Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Shaun Francis, Kevin Burns (Walter Chevez*, 46), Tony Tchani, Justin Meram (Esteban Granados*, 83), Bernardo Anor, Emilio Renteria, Aaron Horton (Santiago Prim, 62)
Substitutes not used: none
*Denotes non-roster player
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee's Assistants: Ryan Black, Andrew Casto
4th Official: Grant Brown