The Columbus Crew started brightly last night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, looking like visitors determined to take the initiative in the game, and the home crowd out of it, from the opening whistle.
That lasted approximately 10 minutes.
Then Colorado started getting a grip on the match, and gradually came to dominate it, putting Columbus on its heels and controlling possession. The Crew went completely flat, looked leg-weary, and started turning the ball over at an alarming rate and frequently while under no pressure. Columbus produced just one shot in the first 45 minutes.
After the Rapids’ inevitable goal came, in the 23rd minute on a sliding shot by captain Pablo Mastroeni, it got even worse for Columbus. It looked like the Crew was playing in black-and-white while the Rapids were in high-def, living color, knocking the ball around fluidly.
The return leg is on November 6. As bad as the Crew looked for much of this one, they nearly poached a late equalizer, and they play at home next weekend with a decent shot to rally and take the series.
To do that, Columbus will have to be much sharper than they were last night, of course, but Colorado is no doubt ruing the fact that they didn’t get another goal in a game they dominated last night.
Here are the highlights: