for this game

Crew keep struggling at home, tie Rapids 1-1

Apr 12, 2009 - 3:47 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Columbus Crew may want to shave down the goal pipes before their next home match.

Conor Casey scored in the 82nd minute, giving the Colorado Rapids (2-1-1) a point on the road while extending the Crew's winless start with a 1-1 tie Saturday night in a game Columbus largely controlled.

A thin crowd of 7,465 saw Crew (0-2-3) shots carom off the post and crossbar, but the team was ultimately unable to convert a tiebreaking score despite taking eight corner kicks to the Rapids' none.

"We need some luck, to be honest with you," coach Robert Warzycha said. "We have to be sharper in front of the box."

Warzycha, a former Crew player and fan favorite, may be testing the patience of the hometown fans as his team struggles to find its footing.

With the tie, Columbus added to its league-record worst start to a season by a defending MLS Cup champion. The Crew have surrendered leads late in both of their home matches this year.

Columbus also won last season's Supporters' Shield, awarded to the team with the best regular-season record. That squad was led by Sigi Schmid, who left the Crew to take charge of the Seattle Sounders, now 3-0-0 as an expansion team.

Casey's goal canceled out Guillermo Barros Schelotto's 12-yard strike in the 41st minute. The tally was Schelotto's third of the year.

Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni fed Casey from midfield before Casey barreled over Crew defender Danny O'Rourke and beat goalkeeper William Hesmer with a left-footed strike that slipped inside the right goalpost.

"It was good to score and get the point," Casey said. "To get out of here with a point is big."

Casey was left shaking his head early in the second half when he was twice alone in front of goal but unable to get on the end of wayward crossing passes.

"We struggled to get a hold of the ball and do anything positive, so it was definitely a frustrating game," Casey said.

Schelotto's goal followed a one-two-three passing combination from teammates Gino Padula, Alejandro Moreno and Emmanuel Ekpo. Padula and Moreno sent crisp passes to each other along the left sideline before Padula chipped the ball into the path of Ekpo.

Ekpo then found Schelotto in front of the net, leaving him with only goalkeeper Preston Burpo to beat. His shot rolled past Burpo's grasp and into the back of the net.

Second-half substitute Steven Lenhart barely missed regaining the lead for Columbus when his strike from 20 yards scraped the outside of the netting in second-half stoppage time. Moments later, Lenhart's header inside the 6-yard box flew just high.

The Crew were without the services of 2008 Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, who suffered a concussion in their game against Chivas USA. Also missing was defender Frankie Hejduk, out with tight hamstrings suffered during his U.S. national team call-up earlier this month.