Columbus Crew SC exacted some revenge over the 2015 MLS Cup victors, the Portland Timbers, with a 3-2 home victory at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday. This would end Portlands unbeaten start to the season.
The winning goal came late in the second half and was from debutant Niko Hansen on as a second half substitute. The chance was initiated by Harrison Afful right wing cross, which was met by the head of Ola Kamara. Jake Gleeson in the Timbers goal did well to parry the header, but the ball landed at the feet of Hansen to stab home.
The first half was an attacking feast with both teams deciding attack is the best form of defense combining for four goals and 12 shots in total.
Portland again started quickly, opening the scoring after only four minutes compared to the 27 seconds the last time they were in town. Dairon Asprilla was sliding through down the right side, though the replays suggested he was offside, and his clean strike from just inside the box beat Zack Steffen to his right and inside the far post.
It only took seven minutes for Crew SC to respond and it was Justin Meram with his first goal of the season. Federico Higuans right sided corner was only half cleared and the loose ball dropped kindly to Meram to blast home from five yards.
Columbus were starting to dominate now and were playing with a system that seemed straight from the Pep Guardiola play book. Afful was playing as a conventional right sided fullback when Portland had the ball, but once Columbus had the ball moving into an inside right midfield positon, giving them an extra man in midfield.
The lead came on 19 minutes thanks to some indecisiveness from Glesson. A long ball was played forward and he was in two minds of whether to come or stay, but instead found himself in no mans land. Kamara rushed onto the ball applied to the lob into the empty net, his third in as many games.
As the half continued, the Timbers started to create more chances. Diego Valeri came close with a 30-yard rip which had Steffen beaten but hit the post and bounced to safety.
The equalizer did come in first half stoppage time and it was Fanendo Adi, who was given time to control a right side cross and dispatch a curled shot into the top right corner.
The second half did not live up to the excitement of the first and was littered with fouls and stoppages, sucking the flow from the game. One such stoppage which will be a concern to Crew SC involved Jonathan Mensah going off injured on 73 minutes.
After a shaky start to the season, Crew SC are now on a two-game streak and will feel confident they can extend that when they host Orlando City next week.