It wasn't the perfect start to the match that the players had hoped for, but it sure was worth the hour and a half weather delay. After initial warmups ended, the match between Real Salt Lake and home team, Columbus Crew SC was put on hold for 20-30 minutes, due to lightning in the area. After the initial delay, another was posted, extending the time of kickoff. Kickoff would presumably start around 9:15 pm EST, and the two teams were underway.
Dominant first half
Real Salt Lake would open the scoring in the first half, when Luke Mulholland shot a beauty into the upper right 90 corner of the net, past Crew SC keeper, Steve Clark. Columbus would respond when Ola Kamara tapped in a centered ball in the six-yard box, from teammate Justin Meram. Just three minutes later, Meram would get his tally on the board, when a breakaway run would be stopped by Aaron Maund who toe-poked the ball away, only for it to hit his teammate Justen Glad and have it directed into his own net. The goal credit was indeed an own goal, and that gave the Crew a 2-1 lead.
As we neared the halftime whistle, Salt Lake was awarded a penalty kick, after center back Rodrigo Saravia tripped up Mulholland inside the Columbus penalty area. Joao Plata would be the man to take the penalty kick, but the attempt was saved by Clark, who rejoiced by jumping in the air with his arms up in joy. That gave Columbus a well-needed boost, as they hit the halftime with the 2-1 lead.
Columbus would come out of the break, and almost instantly, score two goals, both by Kamara, to give the Crew a 4-1 lead. The second of his goals, a great center ball from Waylon Francis that hit off of the head, and then shoulder of Kamara past Salt Lake netminder, Nick Rimando. The third, sealing his hat trick, a header off of a corner kick from Federico Higuain. Just when the Crew thought they were riding high, an instant flash of Deja Vu filled the air at MAPFRE Stadium, when Salt Lake pulled within two goals of Columbus. And then another goal, making the score 4-3, still in favor of Columbus. This is the exact same sequence as of a few weeks ago, when Columbus hosted the Montreal Impact: Score two, concede two. Real Salt Lake would've had the game tied, but their fourth goal was called back for offside.
However, Columbus would hold off Salt Lake, and win the game 4-3.
This game also came with some fun facts as well. The first being that the last time a penalty kick was saved, was 2014 when Clark stopped a penalty kick taken against DC United and Fabian Espindola. The next fun fact of the night was that it has been 12 years since a Columbus player has scored a hat-trick. Tonight's match really lived up to the delay and was well worth it for the 14,894 fans that stuck through it all. Next up, Columbus will travel to take on the Philadelphia Union. Meanwhile, Salt Lake will end their five-game road skid with a midweek match against New York City FC.