Preview: Crew welcome new boys Montreal for home opener
COLUMBUS CREW vs MONTREAL IMPACT
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio.
March 24, 2012 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #21)
4 p.m. ET (FS-OH; TVA)
The Columbus Crew return to action after an early week off for their 2012 Columbus Crew Stadium debut, meeting the expansion Montreal Impact for the first time. The Crew opened their season two weeks ago, with a 2-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids. The Impact are still looking for a first win in MLS, getting their first point in their home opener last weekend, a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 90 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 17; pens: 30
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW — OUT: MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); FW Ben Speas (sports hernia rehab); DF Julius James (R shoulder surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee internal injury) … MONTREAL IMPACT — OUT: GK Evan Bush (L ankle sprain); DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L groin strain); DF Hassoun Camara (R quad strain); PROBABLE: DF Gienir Garcia (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: MTL: Zarek Valentin (USA U-23); Evan James, Carl Haworth (both Canada U-23)
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCHES: 7/8, Montreal Impact vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.; 9/1: Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m.
- Coaches record: Jesse Marsch vs. CLB: first game … Robert Warzycha vs. MTL: first game
The Columbus Crew return to action after a bye week, after starting their season with a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids on March 10 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The Rapids took the lead in the 44th minute. A corner was initially cleared by the Crew defense, but Rapids right back Kosuke Kimura gathered the ball and whipped in a spot-on cross, which was met by a charging Drew Moor, who delivered the opening goal via an unstoppable close-range header.
- The home side finished off the victory in the 89th minute through a highlight-reel strike from Quincy Amarikwa, whose shot into the top left corner from just outside the 18-yard box left Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum helpless.
- With regular first-choice keeper William Hesmer injured, Andy Gruenebaum started between the posts. Chilean Milovan Mirosevic made his MLS debut in the midfield.
HIGHLIGHTS: COL v CLB
COLUMBUS CREW (4-5-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis - Eddie Gaven, Kirk Urso, Milovan Mirosevic, Tony Tchani (Olman Vargas 67), Dilly Duka (Ethan Finlay 12) - Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 85).
- In their weekend off from league concerns, the Crew played a pair of exhibition matches against college competition on Saturday.
- The Crew defeated Michigan State University 5-1 in the first game, behind two goals from Olman Vargas and Milovan Mirosevic and one from rookie Kirk Urso. In the second match, Aaron Horton scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory vs. West Virginia University.
- Here’s the Columbus team vs. Michigan State: Andy Gruenebaum (William Hesmer, 46), Sebastian Miranda, Eric Gehrig, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Ethan Finlay (Justin Meram 46), Kirk Urso, Milovan Mirosevic, Eddie Gaven (Bernardo Anor, 46), Olman Vargas, Emilio Renteria
- Here’s the team vs. West Virginia: William Hesmer, Aubrey Perry, Josh Williams, Korey Veeder, Jamie Finch, Ethan Finlay (Blas Iribarren*, 46), Tony Tchani, Cole Grossman, Justin Meram (Aaron Horton, 46), Tommy Heinemann, Aaron Schoenfeld*
- In the first game, which mainly featured the first-choice team, Crew boss Robert Warzycha went to a two-striker approach, pairing Olman Vargas with Emilio Renteria. In the season opener in Colorado, Renteria performed as a lone forward.
- Regular starting goalkeeper William Hesmer made his first appearances of any sort this season, after missing much of the preseason to an ankle injury.
- "After a game against one of the college teams and another full week of training, hopefully I'll be sharp enough and healthy enough to play," Hesmer said.
- In Colorado, rookie Kirk Urso started in a holding midfield role. Another rookie, Ethan Finlay, was forced to come on after just 12 minutes when Dilly Duka suffered a hamstring injury
- “Dilly [Duka] is a good player and probably has a little more experienced [than the other guys]. Obviously using a sub in the first minute is not the best,” said Warzycha.
- Said Eddie Gaven of Urso: “It was a very tight game, obviously. There wasn’t too much time or space on the ball. We’ve got to find him more. He’s someone who can be a link between the backs and forwards.”
The Montreal Impact nearly made a dream start in their home debut, but still gained a point in a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire on a record-setting day at Olympic Stadium. The Impact are tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 2 matches.
- Before a record crowd in the first MLS game in Montreal, Impact captain Davy Arnaud wrote his name in the history books in the 56th minute, heading home a Sanna Nyassi cross into the upper right corner of Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi's net.
- But 15 minutes later the Fire pulled level. Sebastien Grazzini slipped the ball into the Impact penalty area and Dominic Oduro came sliding in to tap into the goal at full stretch just ahead of goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- The Impact nearly had a dream finish deep into stoppage time, but Josh Gardner saw his thunderous blast from all of 35 yards out crash off the right post and away to safety.
- Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made no changes to the team that began its MLS history with a 2-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
Watch: Arnaud grabs Montreal’s first MLS goal
MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Jeb Brovsky, Tyson Wahl, Matteo Ferrari, Josh Gardner - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier (Lamar Neagle 82), Justin Mapp (Andrew Wenger 68) - Sanna Nyassi, Justin Braun (Bernardo Corradi 77).
- Davy Arnaud will go down in the history books as having scored the first goal in the Impact’s MLS history. “You get a sense as a player how big a game is for a club. Even though a lot of us have only been here for a couple months, we know how big this was. For a night like this or a day like this, you’re going to remember it for a long time. This is one of my more special moments in the league. That’s for sure.”
- “I think it’s the dream scenario for [Davy],” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “For us, we put a lot into what being on this team means and what the group means. Davy is our leader, he’s our captain.”
- After the season-opening loss in Vancouver, the Impact were pleased at having taken a result for the first time.
- “I think that the guys feel confident based on how they played,” Marsch said. “They’re disappointed that they didn’t get three points, but I think there’s a belief and an understanding within the group that it’s coming together. Sometimes, after you feel good about things, then everybody relaxes. The key now is that if things go well or if things don’t go well, we maintain the same level of commitment to training and working every day.”
- Days after he was officially signed to a contract, Bernardo Corradi made his MLS debut, coming on as a late substitute. He joined fellow Italian Matteo Ferrari in the Impact side, Ferrari showed his pedigree in his second MLS match.
- “As soon as he came in, you could see that he was going to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the group as a whole and to our backline,” Marsch said of Ferrari. “We ask him to do certain things a little different than he’s done in the past, but he understands why, he fits into it well and they are easy adjustments for him. ... I don’t even think we’ve seen the best of him yet.”
- The Impact held a 16-12 edge in total attempts at goal, and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was called upon to make 2 saves.
- “My game was an easy game and I was a spectator just like you,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot to do because the midfield played well, the defense played well, so I mopped up whatever they spilt. We did well. Unfortunately, we let a goal in and we wanted three points at home, but it's a work in progress and we'll get it right.”
- Said Marsch: “The challenge of any new team is in the attacking third, where it’s hard to score goals. If goals were easy to score, everyone would play forward. We’re trying to move along our ideas and our understanding of what we want plays to look like in the final third. For the most part, I thought we were fairly threatening, and I don’t think the Chicago bench was ever sitting down comfortably.”