Success against Seattle Sounders FC is rare for the Columbus Crew and, for now, they have to be content with a tie.
Seattle took an early 1-0 lead Saturday at Crew Stadium after forward Fredy Montero’s headed goal in the seventh minute. Columbus responded with a 67th-minute penalty kick goal by forward Emilio Renteria.
Despite Columbus’ persistent offensive attack, the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Seattle (3-3-4) made itself comfortable in the rainy conditions early in the first half when midfielder Erik Friberg served a cross into the Columbus penalty area. Montero gave Seattle its lead when he leaped to head the ball, which deflected off the post and went past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer.
Crew defender Chad Marshall said the ball played into the Crew’s penalty area by Friberg was “weird.”
“It was just a weird cross,” Marshall said. “It was a good finish by (Montero). It’s just gotta be better organization by us.”
Columbus (3-1-4) took four shots on Seattle’s goal in the first half, forcing two saves by goalkeeper Kasey Keller. One of the two on-target shots belonged to Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers.
Rogers came close to leveling the score in the 32nd minute when a seemingly harmless clearance by Columbus skipped through Seattle’s defensive line.
Rogers sprinted to collect the ball, but had minimal time to get a shot off as Keller met him at the top of the Seattle penalty area and kicked the shot aside.
“(Keller) made a great save,” Rogers said. “He got it with his hand. Of course, I would like to score that.”
The Crew went into halftime trailing, 1-0, but came out firing in the second half.
A corner kick by forward Eddie Gaven in the 65th minute eventually resulted in a game-tying goal for Columbus.
After Gaven hit his corner, Seattle defender Patrick Ianni pulled Marshall to the ground inside the Sounders’ penalty area. As a result, referee Mark Kadlecik awarded a penalty kick to Columbus.
Marshall, who pulled his shirt up to expose scratch marks on his chest as he talked to reporters after the game, said he was glad the referee awarded the penalty.
“(Gaven) hit a good ball in,” Marshall said. “I got away from (Ianni) and he had to foul me, I guess. The ball was coming right to me. I’ve got freaking marks all over me.”
Renteria took the penalty attempt for the Crew and knocked it passed Keller to tie the game, 1-1. With the goal, Renteria has now scored all four of his goals this season in Columbus’ last three matches.
The Crew’s pressure on the Sounders’ defense — and Keller — did not subside.
As play continued into the final minutes of the match, Columbus had accumulated 13 second-half shots, while Seattle managed only one shot on Hesmer in the half.
Columbus also failed to convert on a flurry of opportunities in stoppage time, which began with a diving save from Keller.
Midfielder Andres Mendoza came on in the 61st minute as a second-half substitute for the Crew, and took the kick from just outside the Sounders’ penalty area, which Keller parried over his goal.
The Crew’s chances in stoppage time also included three corner kicks, none of which resulted in a goal. Kadlecik blew his whistle to end the game in a 1-1 tie after Seattle cleared the last of Columbus’ corners.
After the match, Crew coach Robert Warzycha said Columbus responded well to the Sounders’ early goal.
“Second half, completely different game,” he said. “We pushed for the goal, and we obviously scored one and we’d like to have scored another one. (We) created numerous chances in the end, and we didn’t get lucky. The most important thing is the result.”
The Crew next will travel to California for a Saturday match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m.