COLUMBUS, Ohio – Andres Mendoza’s penalty gave Columbus the lead and Eddie Gaven added an insurance score in stoppage time as the Crew defeated FC Dallas 2-0 on Friday before 14,549 fans in Crew Stadium.
William Hesmer had seven saves for his second straight shutout.
Columbus, already up a man because of a second caution to FCD's Jackson, took the lead in the 54th minute. Emmanuel Ekpo was the recipient of the infraction at the top of the box when he went shoulder-to-shoulder with George John as he dribbled toward goal. The play had a nice build up with Chad Marshall finding Mendoza. The Peruvian slipped the ball to Gaven, whose through ball sprung Ekpo on the right flank.
Mendoza then put the ball under the left arm of diving goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
The game had taken a turn for the worse for Dallas just past the half-hour mark, when Jackson was called for a challenge on Dejan Rusmir and Gaven a minute apart for cautions to draw the automatic ejection in the 33rd minute.
It was the second red card in three games for FC Dallas following Brek Shea’s dismissal in the opener.
Despite being down a goal and a man, FCD almost responded immediately in the 56th minute, when Jair Benitez took a free kick from 19 yards out. He bent the ball to the far post but Hesmer was there to punch the shot away.
More drama was added when forward Jeff Cunningham entered in the 61st minute for the Crew as he attempted to tie the MLS career goal mark against the club that did not renew his contract after the 2010 season.
He had a great opportunity in the 62nd after being led by Emilio Renteria. Cunningham was unmarked on the right side of the penalty area, but shot into the outside netting as Hartman covered the angle.
Cunningham is still one shy of Jaime Moreno’s MLS career record 133 regular-season goals. Cunningham scored 33 of them in the past three seasons for FCD, including 11 in 2010 before he was acquired by the Crew in December’s Re-Entry Draft. He had 62 goals in seven seasons for the Crew from 1998-2004 to tie Brian McBride for the franchise’s all-time mark.
FCD were in search of points after collecting just a point from two home games to open the season, including a 2-0 loss to San Jose last week, but a slow start is not new. The MLS Cup finalists started 0-1-4 and were 2-2-5 after nine games last year before recording a 19-game unbeaten streak.
Midfielder Fabian Castillo, the 18-year-old Colombian international, made his first MLS start after playing 33 minutes in his debut last week vs. San Jose when he replaced Ricardo Villar.
Castillo showed his speed in the 19th minute by scooting around Rogers – no slouch in the speed department – and turning the corner on the left side of the box only to shoot into the side netting.
Luna was dangerous in the first half with three shots on goal, including a pair of headers. The first came off a service from the left side by Castillo in the 28th minute and Luna two minutes later forced Hesmer into the second of his four saves before the break.
There were two other personnel changes for FCD coach Schellas Hyndman beginning with the return of converted midfielder Shea to the central defense after serving a one-game suspension. Zach Loyd went to the bench and Ugo Ihemelu replaced Jackson on the backline as the Brazilian moved into the midfield for Eric Alexander.
Columbus got an early offensive charge out of holding midfielder Rusmir, who drew fouls just outside the box around the 20-minute mark, but the Crew’s restart woes continued. Rusmir shot the ball into the wall on the first and a Sebastian Miranda free kick was punched away by Hartman.
Their best chance came in the 28th minute, when Ekpo sent a rare left-footed cross to Rogers eight yards off goal for a header that sailed over the crossbar.
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 1 (penalty kick) 54
CLB -- Eddie Gaven 1 (Robbie Rogers 1) 91+
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Reckless Foul) 20
DAL -- Jackson Goncalves (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
DAL -- Jackson Goncalves (caution; Reckless Tackle) 33
DAL -- Jackson Goncalves (ejection; Second Caution) 33
CLB -- Dejan Rusmir (caution; Reckless Foul) 42
CLB -- Kevin Burns (caution; Reckless Tackle) 88
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Ugo Ihemelu, Brek Shea, George John, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez (Zach Loyd 78), Daniel Hernandez, Jackson Goncalves, Fabian Castillo (Milton Rodriguez 78), David Ferreira, Ruben Luna.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Rich Balchan, Eddie Gaven, Dejan Rusmir (Emilio Renteria 46), Kevin Burns, Robbie Rogers, Emmanuel Ekpo (Dilly Duka 85), Andres Mendoza (Jeff Cunningham 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Gardner, Tommy Heinemann, Andy Iro, Alex Riggs.
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Weather: Cloudy and 48 degrees