7:18 p.m. Here we are once again at beautiful Columbus Crew Stadium, where the hometown heroes are set to take on the Kansas City Wizards. Both teams are missing players due to the CONCACAF Gold Cup-the Wizards' star striker Eddie Johnson and Crew defender Frankie Hejduk. The Crew is also without young players Robbie Rogers, Tim Ward and Danny Szetela, who are busy with the U-20 World Cup. With Hejduk and Ward gone, defender Rusty Pierce serving a suspension for accumulated yellow cards and Ezra Hendrickson back from injury, the Crew's back line will see another facelift today. The offense gets shuffled again with Eddie Gaven's return to the starting lineup. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Will Hesmer, coming off an abysmal performance in New England in his first minutes of the season last weekend, gets the start again for some reason.
7:18 p.m. Here we are once again at beautiful Columbus Crew Stadium, where the hometown heroes are set to take on the Kansas City Wizards. Both teams are missing players due to the CONCACAF Gold Cup—the Wizards’ star striker Eddie Johnson and Crew defender Frankie Hejduk. The Crew is also without young players Robbie Rogers, Tim Ward and Danny Szetela, who are busy with the U-20 World Cup. With Hejduk and Ward gone, defender Rusty Pierce serving a suspension for accumulated yellow cards and Ezra Hendrickson back from injury, the Crew’s back line will see another facelift today. The offense gets shuffled again with Eddie Gaven’s return to the starting lineup. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Will Hesmer, coming off an abysmal performance in New England in his first minutes of the season last weekend, gets the start again for some reason.
7:23 Speaking of which, your Crew starters: Will Hesmer, Ezra Hendrickson, Marcos Gonzalez, Chad Marshall, Stefani Miglioranzi, Duncan Oughton, Ned Grabavoy, Danny O’Rourke, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Alejandro Moreno.
7:26 KC starters: Kevin Hartman, Jack Jewsbury, Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr., Davy Arnaud, Sasha Victorine, Kerry Zavagnin, Michael Harrington, Carlos Marinelli, Scott Sealy.
7:27 I sound like cracked vinyl here, but attendance isn’t looking too hot. You would think on buck-a-brat night, more folks would turn out.
7:28 Speaking of brats, somebody ate all the free brats in the press box before I showed up. I know, woe is me. In the words of Bill Simmons (from whom, it goes without saying, this diary concept is lifted), I feel like you should know these things.
7:33 Is it terrible that I love that Trick Daddy song that samples “Crazy Train”? Let’s go!
7:36 We have liftoff.
7:38 One of my fellow reporters marvels that my parents come to every Crew game. “Season ticket holders since the second season,” I reply.
7:40 KC's Garcia shoves down his defender. Unfortunately, this is the biggest action we’ve seen so far. Up to this point the teams’ offenses have sputtered faster than Jason Biggs in American Pie.
7:42 Moreno receives Schelotto’s through ball down the left, but he’s called offside.
7:45 So… slow start here.
7:47 Ten minutes into the game, and not one threatening attack yet from either squad. On the bright side, in baseball terms, we just finished the first inning. There’s much soccer left to be played.
7:49 I hear the Crew brass mentioning that KC keeper Hartman, a former mainstay with the LA Galaxy, is the son of educators from Athens, Ohio. Nice place, that Athens, Ohio.
7:50 Migs steps up to intercept a relatively dangerous KC pass, then trips over his own feet, delivering the ball right back to the Wizards. To his credit, he gets up and wins the ball right back.
7:51 The Crew managed to advance the ball into the box just now, but it was a short-lived journey. Speaking of Journey, how about that Sopranos finale? We've progressed to the point of meta-hype, when people aren't just still talking about the finale, they're talking about how much people are talking about the finale.
7:52 The stats folks kindly inform us that we’ve gone 15 minutes without a single shot. Last time I was this disenchanted with a match was… when the Crew visited Arrowhead Stadium. What is it about Columbus vs. KC that makes for such horrid soccer?
7:55 Hey, a real chance!
7:56 Good ball down the left flank for Moreno. He scoops it up at the end line and feeds back to the midfield, where a few one-touch passes lead to O’Rourke’s best Eddie Gaven impression. Nonetheless, the errant blast counts as our first shot of the night.
7:59 KC gets its first shot, courtesy of Victorine, and it barely misses the bottom left corner. Hesmer better watch out.
8:00 Coach Sigi is well known for importing his former Galaxy players, but between Hartman and Victorine, KC might be on its way to becoming another depository for ex-LA stars.
8:02 Schelotto plays a quick restart to Moreno, but Al can’t quite outrun KC’s Garcia.
8:03 Hey, look at them Crews stringing passes together! How ’bout that? Too bad Schelotto was taking that play off, or else he might have been on the receiving end of an assist.
8:05 The Crew is pushing everybody up to get under a free kick from way out. Schelotto plays a killer ball, but nobody can do much with it. He must be getting sick of that.
8:06 Ned Grabavoy: Great passer; not much for winning headers.
8:07 Migs forces a KC corner kick, the first of the match for either team. Nice punch-out by Hesmer, though I wonder if it was the best choice.
8:09 Hesmer scoops up a KC free kick. The Crew, however, gives up possession pretty fast after that.
8:12 Schelotto draws a dangerous free kick up the middle. Let’s see what he does with it…
8:13 He passes to fearless Captain Oughton, who rips kind of a dinky shot that nonetheless causes Hartman to dive left for the save.
8:14 Victorine shoots wide left again. Hesmer better pay attention; Sasha might land one of those someday.
8:15 A frenzy of activity in the KC box includes a Moreno shot blocked by a clump of players, then Gaven serving a long-winded cross when the ball was clearly across the line already, then the Crew losing the ball anyway.
8:16 Schelotto takes the ball from Grabavoy and dribbles his way upfield until he runs into a defender and gets fouled.
8:17 Best chance yet for the Crew, as Gaven drives left and gets off a sweet cross to Moreno’s diving head. It skims past
8:19 Arnaud has no excuse for not burying a 1-0 lead for KC. He receives a glorious pass while standing wide open in the box, but after fiddling around looking for the perfect shot, he practically passes it into Hesmer’s gloves.
8:20 Schelotto and Moreno try a little vertical give and go thing, but it doesn’t produce much.
8:21 No stoppage time, just halftime.
8:41 Back from the weekly visit to see the folks, and the game’s been underway for about four minutes. (Sorry. You didn't miss much.)
8:42 Hesmer gets a glove on the best KC shot of the night, preventing a 1-0 hole for the Crew. It’s the first sign that he’s ready to earn this playing time he’s been given.
8:43 Worth noting for those of you who’ve never been to buck-a-brat night: The Crew and 99.7 The Blitz host a contest at halftime called Bobbing for Brats, in which contestants dip their heads into vats of Budweiser and snatch as many bratwursts as they can with their teeth—like bobbing for apples, only way more disgusting.
8:44 Schelotto free kick from the far right can’t quite find a Crew head.
8:46 Some sick dribbling through traffic by Schelotto allows him to get off a feed for Grabavoy, but the KC defense outruns him. Another Jason Biggs moment.
8:47 Goal for Gaven! Moreno cuts into the box from the left flank and unleashes a skittering shot only to have it accidentally trapped by Oughton with his back to goal. After a beat, he lays it off to Gaven, who deposits in the lower right corner for his first of the season. Nice to see him get off the schneid.
8:50 KC subbed out Marinelli to bring on Yura Movsisyan.
8:51 Gaven seems reinvigorated after that goal. He just went crashing into the advertising boards to save the Crew from a goal kick, a play that could have ended in a KC own goal if he was lucky. Good opportunistic play.
8:52 And now a nice spin move from Gaven to feed Schelotto! The Argentine’s shot gets deflected into the outside netting to set up a corner kick… and another Crew goal! Miglioranzi gets his first of the year, off a Schelotto corner kick service, on an arching header from the back of the box. That one was a beauty.
8:57 The action has heated up considerably. Hoo boy, fun times are back.
9:02 The action has cooled down a bit since that last update. But the intensity remains high. Is this the Crew’s first two-goal lead of the season? I think it is.
9:04. So what if not much has happened lately? We’re still basking in the glow of offensive production.
9:05 The Crew sent Jed Zayner in for Ezra. Also Ryan Pore came on for KC’s Sealy.
9:09 Attendance tonight is 10,254.
9:10 KC has been pounding away with a series of attacks and corner kicks, but the Crew has held strong so far.
9:11 Bad pass from Moreno sabotages a promising Crew attack.
9:12 Moreno uses a glorious burst of speed to drive it down the field, but he sends another nearly identical cross-field pass behind Oughton. Attack: deflated.
9:14 Big blast from Grabavoy goes wide right.
9:20 Questionable offside call negates a great Schelotto through ball to Moreno. By the way, not much has been happening on the field. KC’s had a few decent attacks, but not anything to distract us from some cheery press box chatter. (For instance, did you know it’s been 53 days since the last Crew victory, a rain-delayed 1-0 triumph over DC United?)
9:21 Moreno should have just gone to goal, but instead he slowed up his breakaway and laid back to Gaven, whose shot isn’t much of a threat.
9:22 Two minutes of stoppage.
9:23 Moreno refuses to go to goal again! Instead he passes back to Schelotto, then gets caught in an offside trap. Also, Kei Kamara comes on for Schelotto. That’s kind of silly at this point, but whatever.
9:24 KC corner kick. Nothin’ doin’.
9:25 Serious blast from Jack Jewsbury! That’s a KC goal in stoppage time, and all of the sudden we have ourselves a ballgame. If anybody can let this lead slip away, it’s the Crew.
9:26 Full time! Final score 2-1 Columbus. The trend of one horrid half, one great half continues. The winless streak, however, does not.