Sauro’s first club career goal secures 1-1 draw vs. New York Red Bulls in Opening Match
March 2, 2019
In an early test against the defending Supporters’ Shield winners in the New York Red Bulls, a set-piece header from Gaston Sauro solidified a 1-1 draw for the Black and Gold on Saturday, March 2 at MAPFRE Stadium as part of Opening Match of the 2019 MLS campaign.
Despite an early Red Bulls’ goal in the sixth minute from Andreas Ivan, Columbus Crew SC (0-0-1, 1 pt.) responded just before the half’s end when Federico Higuain curled in a corner kick towards the near-post for Sauro, who flicked it back-post past an unsuspecting Luis Robles for his first career goal with Crew SC.
Riding the late-half momentum, the Crew controlled possession — and a majority of the big chances — in the second half with a 71.5 percent possession rate. As New York hunkered down with three early subs in the second half, the Reds’ passing accuracy rate dropped to 63.9 percent compared to Columbus’
The Black and Gold continue action next week on the road at the New England Revolution on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. ET. Supporters can watch the match on SportsTime Ohio or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
RBNY – Andreas Ivan (Florian Valot), 6th minute: An easy back-post chip from Valot offered Ivan a wide-open putaway for Ivan, with Steffen left with no favorable angle to try and deny a close-range opportunity. CLB 0, RBNY 1
CLB – Gaston Sauro (Federico Higuain), 41st minute: Columbus was awarded a corner kick, with Higuain taking the honors. The Argentine curled in a hard-hit ball to the near post, which Sauro flicked back-post for his first club career goal.
Match: Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls; Competition: MLS Regular Season; Venue: MAPFRE Stadium at Columbus, Ohio; Attendance: 17,931; Kickoff: 4:38 p.m. ET; Weather: 40 degrees; Cloudy
Stats Summary: CLB / RBNY —Shots: 13 / 14; Shots on Goal: 4 / 5; Saves: 3 / 4; Corner Kicks: 9 / 3; Fouls: 11 / 9; Offside: 6 / 2
Misconduct Summary: Harrison Afful (CLB) – 15’; Aaron Long (RBNY) – 27’; Wil Trapp (CLB) – 31’; Cristian Casseres, Jr. (RBNY) – 68’; Pedro Santos (CLB) – 74’; Waylon Francis (CLB) – 91’
Sauro’s header gives Crew 1-1 draw with Red Bulls
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gaston Sauro tied the game in the 41st minute and the Columbus Crew earned a 1-1 draw against the defending Supporters’ Shield winning New York Red Bulls in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.
Sauro’s header redirected Federico Higuain’s corner for the first MLS goal in his four-season career.
Andreas Ivan opened the scoring with his first MLS goal in the sixth minute, heading home Florian Valot’s cross. Ivan scored his first Red Bulls goal on Wednesday in New York’s 3-0 win over Atletico Pantoja in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Red Bulls advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament and will face Santos Laguna in the first leg on Tuesday.
Caleb Porter made his debut as the coach of the Crew. He sat out a year following his tenure with the Portland Timbers from 2013-17.
MLS Eastern Conference preview capsules
By Anne M. Peterson
AP Sports Writer
A team-by-team look at Major League Soccer for the 2018 season:
Coach: Caleb Porter
2018 Record: 14-11-9, fifth in the East, lost in the conference semifinals.
Key Players: GK Zack Steffen, F Gyasi Zardes, MF Federico Higuain.
Lowdown: Gregg Berhalter is now coach of the U.S. men’s national team, so the Crew brought in former Timbers coach Caleb Porter, who once coached the Akron Zips. Porter led the Timbers to the MLS Cup in 2015, beating the Crew in the final. The Crew have put the uncertainty of the team’s future in Columbus in the past with new ownership. Steffen will be with the Crew to start the season but he’s off to Manchester City in July. The team brought Joe Bendik to pick up the slack in goal.
Coach: Alan Koch
2018 Record: Expansion team for 2019
Key Players: F Fanendo Adi, MF Fatai Alashe, D Kendall Waston
Lowdown: Cincinnati joins MLS as the league’s 24th team. The club is coming off a tremendous season in the USL, finishing with a 28-8-3 record to claim the league’s regular-season title. The team signed Adi as a designated player just a month after MLS awarded Cincinnati the franchise. Adi had three goals in 11 matches with the USL team last season. Cincinnati has an established fan base and drew more than 31,000 in its USL regular-season finale.
MLS Season Preview
By Anne M. Peterson
AP Sports Writer
Major League Soccer embarked last weekend on its 24th season with, appropriately enough, 24 teams.
FC Cincinnati joins the league this season, with Nashville and Miami teed up to start next year and Austin coming aboard in 2021. MLS has added 11 teams in the past decade.
So it’s no wonder Commissioner Don Garber says MLS is still very much “a growth story.”
One more expansion club, to be announced by the end of this year, will bring the league to 28. Sacramento and St. Louis are the front runners.
The league won’t necessarily stop there, Garber told The Associated Press.
“The future plan is something we’re going to be working with our expansion committee on over the next year or so, and try to determine whether or not Major League Soccer is going to grow past 28,” he said. “There’s been no decision whatsoever in that regard and I’m not sure when exactly that ultimate decision will get made.”
Apart from expansion and everything that goes with it, the league also needs to make sure it is properly developing talent, wisely managing rosters and ensuring the right designated players are coming into the league, Garber said.
Cincinnati opened its first MLS season on Saturday night (March 2) against the Seattle Sounders. Cincinnati did well in the lower-division United Soccer League last season, compiling a 23-8-3 regular-season record. Season ticket sales have so far surpassed 20,000.
The Philadelphia Union host Toronto FC in the league’s opening match of the season on Saturday afternoon, March 2.
KEY DEPARTURES: MLS has raised its profile on the international transfer market and in recent months has moved several rising stars to high-profile European teams. Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies left the Whitecaps for Bayern Munich, former Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams went to RB Leipzig, Miguel Almiron left MLS Cup champion Atlanta for Newcastle United and Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen is headed to Manchester City in July.
NEW COACHES: The league welcomes four new coaches this season. Ok, so Caleb Porter isn’t new, he led the Portland Timbers to the MLS Cup in 2015. But he sat out of the league last season after parting ways with the club. He joins the Columbus Crew, the team Portland beat for the league title. Also new is Matias Almeyda, the reigning CONCACAF Coach of the Year who is taking over the San Jose Earthquakes, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, a former MLS MVP and recently the Boca Juniors manager who is now coach of the LA Galaxy. Frank de Boer, who has stints at Ajax, Crystal Palace and AC Milan under his belt, assumes the reins at Atlanta United following the departure of Tata Martino for the Mexican national team.
SHORTER SEASON: MLS is shortening its season by a month this year, going to single-elimination playoffs and setting the MLS Cup final on Nov. 10 — its earliest finish since 2002. Because the league has expanded to 24 teams, MLS is also expanding the playoffs to include 14 teams, seven from each conference.
The all-knockout postseason replaces the two-leg format for the conference semifinals and finals that the league started using in 2003.
Garber said the new format will reward teams for top regular-season records because they’ll get greater home-field advantage. The shorter season will also ensure down the road that MLS wraps up before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, set to start on Nov. 21.
YOUNG TALENT: Atlanta’s Pity Martinez, the reigning South American Player of the Year, leads the 2019 class of fresh faces. Others to watch include attacking midfielder Marco Fabian, a Mexican national team regular who will play for the Philadelphia Union. Vancouver added an intriguing player in 22-year-old midfielder In-beom Hwang of South Korea. The average age of the newcomers to the league is 25, down two years from four seasons ago.
One not-so-young newbie but nonetheless a player to watch is Nani, the 32-year-old former Manchester United winger who agreed to a three-year contract with Orlando.
QUICK RECAP: Atlanta, in just its second year, won the MLS Cup last year, beating the Timbers 2-0 in front of a crowd of more than 73,000 at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta’s Joseph Martinez was the league’s Most Valuable Player, while setting the league record for most goals in the regular season with 31.
RANDOM NOTABLES: Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard is retiring after this season. The 39-year-old former standout for the U.S. national team has made 257 saves in 75 appearances with the Rapids. He joined Colorado in 2016. San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski is on the verge of matching Landon Donovan’s all-time league scoring record. Donovan had 145 and Wondolowski is sitting at 144.
Information for this story was provided by Associated Press and the Columbus Crew.