Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter changed up his starting lineup in the fourth game of the week, a move that resulted in Crew SC earning a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday. The win breaks a seven-game winless streak that spanned nearly three months.
“We made the change based on getting fresh legs out in the field,” Berhalter said. “The guys that came in did a really good job.”
The notable changes in the startling lineup included Adam Jahn starting against his former team over Ola Kamara, Tony Tchani starting in the 10 position and Mohammed Saeid pairing up with Trapp in defensive midfield. That lineup would not last long after Trapp went down after his head-to-head collision with Francis. Dilly Duka replaced Trapp and Tchani moved back to his usual role deeper in the midfield.
Following the match, Gregg Berhalter confirmed that Trapp suffered from a concussion, but began to feel better after the initial effects.
The injury would not prevent Columbus from creating chances however, as Crew SC fired in 17 crosses in the first half, the most in the MLS for a single half in 2016. The Black & Gold paired the 22 crosses with 17 shots, with two coming on goal. One of those two made the difference after Justin Meram whipped in a cross past San Jose’s David Bingham and Ethan Finlay volleyed the ball into the back of the net off a bounce. In the 32nd minute, Columbus led 1-0.
Unfortunately, the injuries did not end with Wil Trapp, as the Earthquakes’ Bingham went down after falling awkwardly making a save on a Harrison Afful shot. Bingham would remain in the game, but immediately signaled for the referee after catching a Meram cross. Rookie goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, who played for the NPSL’s New Orleans Jesters, made his MLS debut and immediately made a diving save against former teammate Adam Jahn.
The second half saw more balanced play as San Jose improved their time on the ball after having possession for just 32% of the first half. The ‘Quakes controlled the majority of the second half possession (51%), improving their percentage to 41% for the game. Despite the uptick in possession, San Jose could not find the finishing touch, with their best chance coming after Simon Dawkins cut in behind the Columbus defense off the wing, but Corey Ashe was there with a sliding tackle to stop the attack.
Crew SC, who have surrendered 14 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season, scored a late goal of their own as Meram drew a penalty in the 83rd minute. The Iraqi international also stepped up to the spot and easily placed the PK into the right corner as Tarbell dove left. Columbus held the score, earning three points and a clean sheet with the 2-0 result.
Gregg Berhalter was pleased with his team’s effort following Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia; “We asked the guys to bounce back, and I think they did that and then some.”
San Jose Earthquakes manager Dominic Kinnear summed up his feelings towards the match best after the conclusion of his press conference. Upon leaving the stage, Kinnear hit his head on the television overhanging the presser table and muttered, “That’s the night.”
San Jose returns home on Saturday, September 10 as they take on Seattle Sounders. Columbus Crew SC is also travelling out to the Sunshine State to take on the LA Galaxy, which will also be played September 10 at 10:30 ET. With the win and D.C. United’s win over Chicago Fire, Crew SC remains six points out of the playoffs with nine games to go.