for this game

Defending champion Crew notch first win of season, beat Wizards

May 10, 2009 - 2:33 AM By BOB STEIN STATS MLS Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (STATS) - It took eight games, but the defending?MLS?Cup champion Columbus Crew finally has their first win.

Emmanuel Ekpo, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Eddie Gaven scored for Columbus in a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night.

Schelotto's diving header in the 55th minute helped secure the victory for the Crew (1-2-5), who have struggled this year despite fielding a team largely comprised of the same players who won last year's title. Their seven games without a win set a league record for futility to start a season for a defending?MLS?Cup winner.

"Obviously we've been waiting for this since the beginning of the season," first-year Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "I think we've been playing well. The games have been tight. ... Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way."

Claudio Lopez scored for Kansas City (3-4-2) just six minutes after entering the game at halftime. Josh Wolff added a goal in the 79th minute.

Ekpo's goal came in the 38th minute, and followed consecutive backheel passes from Gino Padula, Alejandro Moreno and Schelotto. Robbie Rogers then laid off the ball for Ekpo inside the penalty area.

"It was a loose ball in the box and (Ekpo) was very quick," Warzycha said.

Lopez tied the game in the 51st minute with his third goal of the year, a left-footed free kick that curled into the box where it bounced in the back of the net untouched and past out-of-position Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

Schelotto reclaimed the lead for the Crew four minutes later, and Gaven made it 3-1 in the 78th minute with a right-footed strike that beat Kevin Hartman inside the left goalpost.

"Schelotto?has his hands in everything," Kansas City coach Curt?Onalfo?said. "He shows the class that he is tonight. He scores a crucial goal right after we tie it up and we have a little bit of momentum."

Columbus had little time to savor the two-goal lead - Wolff tallied his fourth goal barely a minute later - but the Crew was able to hang on and hand Warzycha his first victory since he was given control following the departure of Sigi Schmid for expansion Seattle.

Crew captain Hejduk was playing in his first game back after a sore hamstring suffered in a stint with the U.S. national team in late March and early April.

"I was pumped up," Hejduk said. "We had a good week of training and there was a positive vibe around the team. It almost felt before we stepped on the field that we were going to win that game."

Referee Jorge Gonzalez handed out five yellow cards, all in the second half. Kansas City's Lance Watson, Roger Espinoza and Matt Besler were booked, as were the Crew's Frankie Hejduk and Gruenebaum.

Gonzalez paused the game briefly in the second half as debris thrown from a corner of the stadium was cleared from the pitch near where Kansas City was attempting a corner kick

In a written statement following the game, Gonzalez noted objects were being thrown "with enough force that ...(they) endangered the safety of players and officials. ... As a result, the game was stopped and the issue addressed with game operations personnel."