The Columbus Crew finally broke through for their first victory of the season. Now, the defending MLS champs are searching for their first away from home.
A matchup against a team they've beaten in two of the last three road meetings might help, but the Crew will have to snap the Los Angeles Galaxy's six-game unbeaten streak when they travel Sunday to the Home Depot Center.
Before last week's 3-2 win over visiting Kansas City, Columbus (1-2-5) was off to the worst start for a reigning champion in league history. The Crew scored twice in the second half, including Eddie Gaven's first goal of the season in the 78th minute, and held off a Wizards rally to clinch their long-awaited victory.
Emmanuel Ekpo opened the scoring in the 38th minute with his second goal in as many games, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto's team-leading fourth in the 55th broke a 1-all tie.
"Obviously, we've been waiting for this since the beginning of the season," first-year coach Robert Warzycha told MLS' official Web site. "We've been playing well. ... Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way. Today we had some opportunities, and guys had some good finishes. That was enough to win the game."
Unbeaten in its last four (1-0-3), Warzycha's club will also look to extend a five-game unbeaten road streak (2-0-3) against the Galaxy.
Before last season's 3-3 tie, Columbus had won its previous two road games against the Galaxy, who haven't beaten the Crew at home in league play since April 24, 2004.
Los Angeles (1-1-6) will be playing at home for only the second time in its last six matches. The Galaxy have registered ties in their four road games over that span along with a 1-0 home victory over New York on May 2.
Playing their third game in nine days, the Galaxy rallied to keep their unbeaten streak alive as Alan Gordon scored the tying goal in a 1-1 draw last Sunday in Seattle. Despite having a man advantage for the final 32 minutes after Sounders defender James Riley was ejected, the Galaxy couldn't break their 14-game road winless streak (0-7-7) that dates to June 14.
"I think it is bittersweet. It is good to get a point on the road especially, but the situation like this we need to get three points," Gordon said. "When we go up a man the advantage goes to us and we have to start getting wins. With that being said, I think we played well, and we got a point. They are a good team. We are not happy, but we are satisfied."
Landon Donovan, who leads Los Angeles with five goals, scored twice in last season's home draw against Columbus.
In the Crew's 1-0 home win over the Galaxy on Oct. 4, Alejandro Moreno scored against his former team.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press