By Jacob Singer

FT: 2-2

Going into the World Cup break, Columbus Crew will hold onto first place in the Eastern Conference with a draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.  The game brought a cluster of activity in the opening and closing minutes of the match.  The goals came in the 5th and 6th minute, and later in the 70th and 79th.  In between, the two teams physically battled it out, producing twenty-seven fouls and four yellow cards.  Both worked the ball up and down the pitch with crisp, short passes.  While the Crew bombarded the goalie with aerial crosses from flanks, which created a number of great opportunities, the Earthquakes’ Ryan Johnson and Bobby Convey bobbed and weaved through the attacking third.

The match began with a bit of slapstick comedy as the Earthquakes’ goalie, Joe Cannon, ran to the sideline to grab a baseball cap to block the setting sun.  Apparently the referee didn’t notice that and blew the starting whistle only to restart the game after noticing Cannon running back to his goal.  The reason he was so interested in that hat was that in the previous game the setting sun resulted in him letting in a FC Toronto goal.

Both teams burst out of the gate with a full-court attack.  In the 5th minute Eddie Gaven scored his second goal of the season.  The play started with a Guillermo Schellotto shot on net which Cannon couldn’t control.  The ball fell to Jason Garey who passed it to a wide-open Eddie Gaven.  A minute later Arturo Alvarez leveled the playing field.  Andre Luiz, surrounded by a cluster of Crew defenders, slipped the ball to Alvarez who scored on the inside post.

An ideal start of the game—goals, quick passes, counter attacks—but slowly it fell apart as a result of unchecked aggression.  Early on the referee let a number of rough tackles go uncalled.  This set the tone of play and along with an intense pace brought about a number of yellow cards between the 40th and 60th minute.  Then four substitutions were made within a ten minutes window which changed the tone of the match—both teams were out for the win.

The deadlock was broken with a 70th minute goal by Chad Marshall, who scored off a Schellotto corner kick.  That was his first goal of the season and put the Crew in reach of three points.  But nine minutes later Chris Wondolowski scored a header off a deflection.  And just like before, the field had been leveled.  Going into the final minutes of the game, it seemed that someone had a bit of magic, that someone was going to score a game winner.  But after three minutes of stoppage time, each team walked away from the match with a hard-fought point.

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