The fans who passed through the turnstiles at Crew Stadium for the Crew's penultimate home game were treated to the team shop's weekly clearance item. The discounted commodity? Crew doormats.
The fans who passed through the turnstiles at Crew Stadium for the Crew’s penultimate home game were treated to the team shop’s weekly clearance item.
The discounted commodity? Crew doormats.
It’s doubtful that Sporting Kansas City purchased any during its lone trip to Crew Stadium this season. After last night’s 1-0 win gave the visitors a three-game sweep of the season series with the Crew, Kansas City (15-10-6) already has the club firmly underfoot. Ike Opara’s header in the 17th minute allowed the visitors to sit back, control their half of the field and all but eliminate the Crew from postseason contention with two games remaining.
“We know that we need help,” interim coach Brian Bliss said. “If we get six (more) points, I’m not sure that does it.”
The Crew (12-15-5) fell behind for the first time in three games, and it came with a little controversy. After a Kansas City corner kick was boomed to the far side of the penalty area, Crew defenders Agustin Viana and Tyson Wahl and Opara all converged on the same spot. Opara’s momentum carried him into Wahl, whose head then collided with Viana, who crumpled to the ground. Opara got his head on the ball, setting off a sequence in which it pinged through the area before being sent back out wide to a waiting Graham Zusi.
With Viana still on the ground and no whistle to stop play, Zusi’s service to the far post found Opara completely unmarked; he easily headed the ball past Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
Viana did not stay down for long before quickly jogging off, and said afterward that the collision frightened him.
“In that moment I felt scared about the collision,” he said. “I think it was evident that the ref must see that play. Maybe my mistake was I thought he was going to stop the game, but then when I realized (he wasn’t) it was inside our goal.”
Bliss said he directly addressed the situation with Viana at halftime.
“Look, if you’re not hurt, get up,” Bliss said. “From my view, he jogged off nicely and got back on the field. At the end of the day, that was his area of the field that the goal came on.
“I’m not saying he wasn’t hurt, but we can’t be looking for help from the referee. It’s on us to keep playing.”
Making matters worse, captain, forward and designated player Federico Higuain suffered an unspecified injury to what appeared to be his right hip in the early moments of the game and was clearly hobbled throughout. Bliss said the coaches asked him about coming off the field both during the first half and at halftime, but he played the full 90 minutes.
“He felt something, but this is the kind of game that every player wants to play,” Viana said of Higuain. “You want to stay in the game and help your teammates.”
The Crew finished with 65.3 percent of the possession — 71.3 percent in the second half — but mustered just one shot on target.
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak during which the Crew had outscored its opponents 9-3. Kansas City outscored the Crew 7-2 this season.