Wednesday, June 30, 2010

6/30/2010: Crew Sneak Past Rochester, While Other MLS Teams Fail

Lenny's 94th minute strike gives the Crew striker confidence, gives team ticket to U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals.

Apparently some teams can do without $100,000 extra dollars; as both the New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire fell to the Harrisburg City Islanders and Charleston Battery respectively in U.S. Open Cup play. These were two USL-2 clubs. The Columbus Crew, on the other hand, were able to move on last night against the USL-1 Rochester Rhinos in the third round. The Crew beat the Rochester Rhinos 2-1 on a late goal by Steven Lenhart. The result should help erase some thoughts of the Crew's early exit in 2009 at the hands of the Rhinos.

The road from here to the finals for the Columbus Crew is rather easy. All the Crew have to do now is beat the Charleston Battery at home on Tuesday next week and the Crew will be in the Semifinals. From there, the Crew will likely just have to beat two MLS teams to lift the U.S. Open Cup and gain a $100,000 dollar payday. Beat one USL-2 team and one MLS team and the Crew will get $50,000.

The Crew didn't have the best of games last night. Duka and Francis both received their first meaningful starts, as the Crew played a mix of seven starters and four reserves.

The game winner was a relief to Lenhart (who has been on a bit of a scoring hiatus) as the 94th minute flick will improve Lenhart's confidence. A confidence that wasn't helped, this previous weekend, when Lenhart was gifted the penalty kick duties by Schelotto and missed a nice opportunity to get on the scoresheet in stoppage time against D.C. United. The 2-1 last minute goal by Lenhart was also a relief to the whole Columbus side, as none of them wanted to play extra time.

"We just didn't want to stick around," Lenhart said. "No one wanted (to play 120 minutes). We didn't play well, but it was a relief."


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