United States of America
Saturday 30 August 2014
Major League Soccer
Montreal Impact 2-0 Columbus Crew
Bernardo Añor missed his fifth consecutive game due to a left hamstring strain which he is reported to be gradually recovering from. His team-mates were defeated by the first two goals in the MLS career of Ignacio Piatti, an Argentine forward who has recently been acquired from San Lorenzo, a side he helped to reach their first ever Copa Libertadores final but who, to the chagrin of their fans, he was obliged to leave before the second leg of this tie could be played due to the MLS transfer window closing (San Lorenzo won in any event). His first goal after 40 minutes showed precisely why he is a Designated Player as he ran up the inside-left from the half-way line, made fools of two defenders with a cutback or two and then unleashed a fearsome left-footed drive that beat goalkeeper Steve Clark with its sheer pace. A dream goal to open your account for any team but not one many people would have wished to be accompanied by The Fratellis’s ‘Chelsea Dagger’ playing over the PA system. His second goal came deep into stoppage time and was the culmination of a charge towards the centre of the box by the 38 year-old Italian Marco Di Vaio, who attempted to turn a defender one way and then the other but an opposition foot diverted the ball into the path of Piatti, who quickly manoeuvred himself into a more advantageous position away from a defender and emphatically struck the ball into the roof of the net.
Despite this defeat, the Crew are still in the play-off places of the Eastern Conference but, having played a game or two more than some of their nearest rivals, will need to improve their form in the remaining nine games of the regular season.
Wednesday 3 September 2014
Unofficial ‘Scrimmage’ Match
Columbus Crew XI 5-1 Dayton Dutch Lions
The Crew played a match against their affiliate side from the third-tier USL Pro league at their training facility in the Ohioan village of Obetz which only members of the media were permitted to attend. The game gave them an opportunity to field some squad members, youth players and those who have been struggling with injuries, such as Bernardo Añor, who started the game and played all of the first half. Little is known of his performance but he appears to be edging closer to a first-team return and will hopefully play an integral role in his side’s play-off push. As for the goals, Ben Speas got two and Manchester City fans may be interested to hear that their promising 17 year-old Kelechi Iheanacho – a man who is training with the Crew and who netted six times for his victorious country at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, celebrating each one with WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan’s ‘YES’ chant – scored a hat-trick.