The Columbus Crew defeated defending Western Conference champion FC Dallas, 2-0, on Friday.
Columbus’ only goals were a penalty shot against DC United two weeks prior and a goal by Andres Mendoza against Real Salt Lake on March 1.
The main problem was how to score more with Kevin Hartman, who is the all-time leader in games played in goal, games started in goal, minutes played in goal, wins, losses, saves and shutouts, guarding the net for Dallas.
It was Dallas, however, who almost converted an early opportunity when forward Fabian Castillo’s point-blank shot went wide left.
Columbus answered with a free kick that forward Emmanuel Ekpo headed over the goal.
Later, in the 29th minute, Dallas forward Ruben Luna got his head on a David Ferreira cross that Columbus goalie William Hesmer quickly saved.
Columbus continued to challenge at the 36-minute mark, as a Crew corner kick by Eddie Gaven was flicked by Chad Marshall to midfielder Dejan Rusmir before being cleared by Dallas.
The game would only become more difficult for Dallas when midfielder Jackson Goncalves was ejected after acquiring two yellow cards in three minutes.
“We tried to put a little bit more pressure on the defenders, especially on the crosses,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said of his team’s change in game plan after gaining a man advantage.
Columbus would put the first point on the board in the 55th minute, when Dallas’ George John committed a penalty in the box, which resulted in a Mendoza penalty shot. Hartman would guess the correct direction only to see the ball slip under his fingertips.
A Columbus substitution five minutes later would put Jeff Cunningham in for Mendoza. For Cunningham, it was a chance to play against his former team.
“We had a good control of the match, so it was a great opportunity to introduce me into the game,” Cunningham said.
Dallas went to its reserves in the 79th minute, as defender Zach Loyd and forward Milton Rodriguez were sent in for midfielders Castillo and Marvin Chavez.
Dallas almost tied in the 81st minute when Loyd passed a high ball to forward Rodriguez, whose header Hesmer read and stopped.
Columbus almost put the nail in Dallas’ coffin when Dilly Duka, an 85th-minute substitution for Ekpo, took the ball on the left side, drawing the defense before dumping it off to Duka in the middle, who shot it wide right.
Stoppage time would finally bring the insurance goal, as Gaven dribbled the ball right before cutting it inside where his left foot put a screamer into the back of the net.
Dallas, having twice bitten on the man with the ball before it dumped off for a shot, did not contest Gaven, who had a clear line of sight toward the net.
Columbus scored its first home goal of the season after tying the New York Red Bulls last week at Crew Stadium.
The Crew next takes on Chivas USA on April 9.