First came the lightning. Then came the thunder.
In all, the Columbus Crew took the Tampa Bay Rowdies by storm in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open tournament Wednesday night. After a two-hour game delay because of lightning, the Crew had its way in a 4-0 defeat.
“I’m not happy with the result at all and it’s a tough one for us to swallow,” Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell said. “We never really got started when the restart came and the Crew scored with their first shot of the match. … We looked at the opposition and we know Columbus has some really good attacking players. They’re a real threat going forward and they showed that tonight. We knew they would be clinical, but, unfortunately for us, they were very clinical tonight.”
The match was scoreless in the 26th minute when the lightning came and delayed the game for 1:55.
Justin Meram opened the scoring in the 41st minute when Frankie Sanfilippo tried to clear the ball, but got only a slight touch on it and it remained in the path of Meram. He finished it well to give the Crew a 1-0 halftime lead. Columbus dominated in the second half with goals in the 48th, 52nd and 68th minutes from Cristian Martinez, Ethan Finlay (penalty) and Marshall Hollingsworth, respectively to pull away and ease into the next round.
“We knew that we had created a few chances in the first half,” Campbell said. “I wanted the guys to do more of the same and stay patient in possession, but as I’ve said, Columbus was very clinical against us. … We can learn a lot from this and strive to get to their level.
“We had a lot of shots and a lot of chances, but we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough. Matt (Pickens) had no chance on any of their goals, but it wasn’t like he was overworked. Columbus’s first four chances all resulted in goals. That’s the difference between the levels, when they had a chance, they scored, but we didn’t manage to finish any of ours off.”
Tampa Bay has now officially reached the midseason break and does not play again until the Fall Season opener against the Jacksonville Armada FC at home on July 2.