COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was an emotional night for the Columbus Crew and the LA Galaxy as the Crew paid tribute to the late Kirk Urso before the match.
Before the kick off, the Crew played a tribute video for the late Urso in addition to a moment of silence and various fan tributes during the match. Those tributes had a major effect on all of the players including Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens. Having grown up with Urso in Illinois, Stephens felt the emotion during Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw.
“To be honest with you, I’ve known Kirk since I was 11-years-old so I was playing with the same emotion that [the Crew were],” Stephens said after the game. “I think once you get out there, you kind of forget about everything. Obviously, we had a ceremony before the game…after that everyone was just playing.”
Once the game got underway, the Crew provided considerable pressure on the Galaxy midfield creating a number of scoring chances. Stephens did his part to help keep the game scoreless going into the half when he was able to clear an Eddie Gaven shot near the goal line.
After the Crew went ahead on a Jairo Arrieta goal two minutes into the second half, Stephens would help the Galaxy level the score. In the 64th minute, Stephens fired a looping pass that found Sean Franklin in mid-run, Franklin then nutmegged Crew midfielder Dilly Duka before firing a low cross to Robbie Keane, who scored the equalizer.
“I thought in the first half, they did a good job pressuring us and we had a hard time playing,” said Stephens. “But as the game wore on, we started getting more of the play, but we gave up a pretty unfortunate play there. But we even had chances to win the game at the end there.”
But regardless of the action on the field, the match belonged to the Urso family. And before and after the game, Stephens was able to pay his respects to the loved ones of his lost friend.
Following the match, Stephens even offered his jersey to Urso’s mother as his last show of respect.
“It was great, his parents were here so it was nice to see them,” Stephens said of speaking with the Urso family. “Obviously, it’s a really tough situation and it was good to see them and help them get through this. It’s a tough time for everyone.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider