Columbus, OH – The Columbus Crew returned to the pitch on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Crew Stadium.
Columbus, which postponed its match at weekend to mourn the loss of midfielder Kirk Urso, came out firing on all cylinders and eventually went in front thanks to Jairo Arrieta's second-half strike.
But the Crew would have to settle for a point against the reigning MLS Cup champions as Robbie Keane continued his fine season with an equalizer in the 64th minute.
The result helps Columbus (8-8-5) improve to 29 points, bringing the club to within seven points of a playoff position. The Crew return to action Sunday with a trip to BBVA Compass Stadium to face the Houston Dynamo.
Los Angeles (11-11-4) moves into a three-way tie for third place in the Western Conference as it sits level with Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC on 37 points apiece, although the Sounders and Whitecaps hold three and two games in hand, respectively. The Galaxy will enjoy a short break, playing their next match on August 26 against FC Dallas.
The Crew could have found themselves up by several goals at halftime had it not been for the heroic play of goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who denied Eddie Gaven and Chris Birchall on multiple scoring chances throughout the opening period.
But Saunders was largely at fault for conceding the opening goal just two minutes after the break.
Arrieta collected a ball played wide to the left flank and drifted inside to the top of the box. The Galaxy defense laid off and the Crew striker took advantage, firing a left-footed shot that Saunders was unable to keep out of the net. The Galaxy 'keeper got both hands to the effort, but the ball slipped underneath and trickled into the back of the net for Arrieta's third goal of the season.
The Galaxy clawed their way back though, and it was the team's leading scorer who provided the finishing touch.
Sean Franklin beat his defender in a one-on-one situation wide on the right and slipped a square ball to the top of the six-yard box. Keane narrowly beat the offside trap to turn in the delivery uncontested, netting his 11th goal of the season.