COLUMBUS, Ohio - It was a tale of two halves on Saturday as Columbus Crew SC and the LA Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw following a very late kickoff because of a weather delay.
Thanks to a slow-moving storm cell that hovered over MAPFRE Stadium for longer than most anticipated, kickoff was delayed by more than two hours, finally beginning around 9:45 p.m. When the game finally began, the Galaxy came flying out of the gate, putting Crew SC on their heels from the first moment of the match.
Lletget was only in the game because Bruce Arena decided to replace veteran forward Edson Buddle in the starting lineup during the weather delay. Lletget took his chance well, collecting a loose ball, dancing around Michael Parkhurst and slamming a low shot past Steve Clark in the bottom corner of the Crew SC goal.
Not even allowing a goal seemed to spark Columbus to life. Though they had 55 percent of possession in the first half, Crew SC were unable to create many chances, stymied by high-pressing LA and unable to follow Gregg Berhalter's wishes of faster ball movement.
The Galaxy, on the other hand, continued to fly. In his first match since early May, Robbie Rogers looked as dangerous as ever on LA's left wing, creating multiple chances including a half-field run and cutback that nearly earned him a goal.
One another play, Ishizaki outmuscled Emanuel Pogatetz in the Crew SC box, turned and scored, only to have the play voided by a foul call.
Crew SC seemed fortunate to only be down 1-0 at the half, and improved to start the second. And after withstanding a wave of Galaxy pressure, Crew SC found their equalizer in the 66th minute.
Tony Tchani was able to spring Ethan Finlay with a perfectly weighted through ball down the right side. Finlay then outpaced Rogers and Leonardo, looked up and found a streakingFederico Higuain at the top of the box. The Argentinian DP took his chance well, hitting a shot low and hard to draw Columbus level.
After the goal, the field tilted toward the LA goal. Despite the introduction of Gyasi Zardes as a substitute, Crew SC found another gear. Justin Meram, after playing 55 minutes in Japan with the Iraq national team midweek, was as aggressive as ever, creating his own chances and nearly scoring from a header that Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo did well to push away.
But the late surge wouldn't be enough for Crew SC, who had the majority of late chances.
Crew SC (4-6-5) have now played six matches since their last win, while the Galaxy (5-5-7) continue to search for their first win away from home of the season.
The Galaxy will return to league play on June 20 with a home game against the Philadelphia Union. Crew SC, meanwhile, will welcome the New England Revolution to MAPFRE Stadium in their next league match on June 24.
LA Galaxy 1, Columbus Crew SC 1
Saturday, June 13, 2015 – 4:30 p.m. PT
MLS Regular Season
MAPFRE Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
LA – Sebastian Lletget 14’
CLB – Federico Higuain (Assisted by Ethan Finlay) 66’
LA – Omar Gonzalez (caution) 70’
LA – Robbie Rogers (caution) 87’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Robbie Rogers, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Dan Gargan; Baggio Husidic, Juninho, Mika Vayrynen (Kenney Walker 81’), Stefan Ishizaki, Sebastian Lletget (Alan Gordon 84’); Jose Villarreal (Gyasi Zardes 60’).
Substitutions not used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Ignacio Maganto, Edson Buddle.
TOTAL SHOTS:12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3.
Columbus Crew SC: Steve Clark; Hector Jimenez, Michael Parkhurst, Emanuel Pogatetz, Waylon Francis, Justin Mearam, Mohammed Saeid, Tony Tchani, Ethan Finlay (Aaron Schoenfeld 84’), Federico Higuain (Ben Speas 90’+1), Kei Kamar.
Substitutions not used: Brad Stuver, Chad Barson, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 8; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4.
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Referee’s Assistants: Gregory Barkey and Brian Dunn
4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez