Thursday, March 5, 2009

3/5/09: First Liverpool Reserve Defeat Of 2009 Comes At The Hands Of The Crew, Crew win 2-0.

(Image via's website.)

According to
Liverpool Reserves suffered their first defeat of 2009 after losing 2-0 against MLS champions Columbus Crew in an entertaining friendly encounter at the Academy this afternoon.

Gary Ablett's men gave a good account of themselves throughout the contest but were eventually undone by an impressive second-half performance from the American side as goals from Alejandro Moreno and Guillermo Barros Schelotto clinched a memorable Merseyside double for the men from Ohio.

The Reds had gone into the clash expecting a serious test after the MLS champions - who are managed by former Everton winger Robert Warzycha - ran riot in a 5-1 thumping of the Blues' second-string last Sunday.

And it proved to be the case too as the away side created the better of the openings in a tight first period.

Robbie Rogers went close with a near post drive that Dean Bouzanis got down well to gather after just 60 seconds before a dangerous left-wing free-kick from Schelotto was brilliantly defended by Martin Kelly at the far post.

Victor Palsson then drilled just wide with a speculative 30 yarder on 25 minutes for the Reds while another Schelotto cross was guided inches wide of the near post by Eddie Gaven.

The Crew were looking the more likely to break the deadlock and Schelotto thrashed a low drive from a tight angle against the outside of the post after some neat play by Moreno.

Gaven then showed good feet to beat Steven Irwin before sending over a clever cross that Moreno could only guide over the top under pressure from Kelly.

Given the balance of play Ablett would have been happy to have gone in at the interval all-square until he saw his side squander the best chance of the half on 44 minutes.

Jay Spearing broke through the away side's stubborn rearguard with a powerful run and after seeing his initial shot well saved, squared the ball for Andras Simon, whose tame effort was hacked off the line.

It was a big chance for the Reds and one they would regret within five minutes of the restart when the MLS champions snatched the lead.

Good play down the left between Gino Padula and Rogers saw the latter send over a devilish cross that fell kindly for Schelotto on the edge of the home side's penalty area. The Argentine composed himself before unleashing a low shot that Bouzanis could only parry straight to Moreno who gleefully slotted home the rebound.

The Venezuelan had been on the end of most of The Crew's best moves and he should have doubled their advantage two minutes later but he shot straight at Bouzanis after finding space on the left-hand side of the penalty area.

Liverpool struggled to create any opening of note and eventually found themselves two behind on 65 minutes when Gaven held off the challenge of two Reds defenders to play in Schelotto, who made no mistake with a cool finish into the far corner of the net.

With the game seemingly over the Reds suddenly stepped up a gear and Dani Pacheco twice went close to reducing the arrears with a shot against the post and an in-swinging free-kick that the keeper had to be at full stretch to keep out.

But it was too little, too late for Ablett's men who will now hope to regroup ahead of next week's Barclays Premier Reserve League North clash at home to Manchester United.

Liverpool Reserves: Dean Bouzanis, Martin Kelly (Ronald Huth 46), Mikel San Jose, Steven Irwin, Emmanuel Mendy (Andre Wisdom 75), Gerardo Bruna (Vincent Weijl 12), Damien Plessis (David Amoo 56) , Jay Spearing, Victor Palsson, Dani Pacheco, Andras Simon (Vitor Flora 46). Man of the Match: Dean Bouzanis. Produced a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline down.


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