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The Wrecking Crew

Columbus defeats Chivas in Hoefflin benefit at COC

Posted: February 25, 2008 7:23 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
February and March is the preseason for Major League Soccer teams and like any preseason, it's a time to tweak.

It made Saturday's benefit contest for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation between the Columbus Crew and Chivas USA at College of the Canyons' Cougar Stadium a little more than an exhibition game.

"We're looking to see what combinations work well together," said Crew head coach Sigi Schmid, the former Los Angeles Galaxy coach and longtime UCLA head soccer coach. "We also try to make a decision on players by March 1st for whether guys are going to make the team or not."

Schmid said he put Robbie Rogers up front for the first time this preseason, which looks like it might be a good spot for the 20-year-old.

In the 59th minute of the game, his goal turned out to be the game-winner, giving the Crew a 2-1 win over Chivas USA.

Rogers collected a long pass while streaking down the sideline and took the ball into the penalty box, firing a shot past second-half Chivas goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.

"In the first half, I didn't think we played particularly well," said Chivas head coach Preki Radosavljevic, who was a longtime player in the MLS before becoming a coach. "In the second half we played better."

The team may have played better in Preki's eyes, but they struggled to put together many scoring opportunities in the second half, playing in the rain through much of the final frame.

In the opening minutes of the game, however, it was Chivas that was applying the pressure.

Atiba Harris, coming over from Real Salt Lake in the offseason and making his debut with Chivas USA on Saturday, put his team on the board after capitalizing on a Columbus miscue in the backfield. The forward's goal came in the ninth minute of play against goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

"Basically it was a bad pass to the keeper," Harris said. "The keeper made a bad touch. It was an easy tap in."

That score would be all the Chivas USA offense could muster.

It took the Crew 30 minutes to answer and it was midfielder Brad Evans tied the game 1-1.

Off a pass from Adam Moffat, Evans dribbled the ball into the box with a defender marking him closely. As Evans was falling down, he got enough power behind his shot to send it past Chivas USA's first-half goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

The Crew came to the Santa Clarita Valley after playing a preseason game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday in San Luis Obispo, a game Columbus lost 2-1.

Schmid brought his Crew squad to play in the event last year, a game where they tied the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1.

All proceeds made from the game went to the Hoefflin Foundation, a local non-profit organization that benefits children with cancer and their families.

"I think all of us felt special and honored to be here tonight," Preki said.

Schmid friendship with Scott Schauer, the executive director of the Hoefflin foundation, is what helped bring this event into existence last year.

"It's something I've always been involved with. It's a terrific organization," Schmid said. "It does a lot of great things for kids. It's great that Chivas is involved with them now."

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