COLUMBUS: The voice sounded familiar on the sideline, but on this day the constructive criticism wasn’t directed at Wil Trapp and Chad Barson.
Trapp and Barson each heard coach Caleb Porter shouting instructions to his Portland Timbers players in his return to Ohio on a warm Sunday at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Porter mentored Trapp and Barson at the University of Akron during a seven-year tenure at the school that ended in 2012. Barson played on Porter’s 2010 Zips team that won a national title and the 2009 team that was national runner-up.
Championship memories remain in Porter and Barson’s thoughts, but on this sunny day in Columbus a Major League Soccer match was the focus.
The match was spirited with 36 fouls called, and ended with Columbus a 1-0 winner.
The Crew (6-8-5) utilized a revamped starting lineup and got a goal five minutes into the match before a crowd of 15,051. Midfielder Bernardo Anor scored the goal past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts after a corner kick by forward Federico Higuain. The result ended the Timbers’ (7-2-9) unbeaten streak at 15.
Trapp made his MLS debut Sunday as a starting midfielder after playing with the United States U-20 team in Turkey. Barson started in a Crew defensive lineup that included Copley High School graduate Josh Williams.
“It was awesome and feels great,” Trapp said of his first start. “To get the three points is even more important. It is kind of funny that it [the debut] would come in this game playing Caleb, especially at home, but when you get in the lines you don’t even think about that kind of stuff. To win the game, like I said is the most important thing. It’s pretty nice to see him a little pissed off after the game.”
Trapp smiled as he talked after being named the “Man of the Match” via a fan vote through Crew social media outlets. He and Barson are from suburbs of Columbus.
The Timbers also featured former UA players with forward Darlington Nagbe and midfielder Ben Zemanski starting. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff entered as a reserve.
“It was pretty crazy, especially with the youth of the Ohio guys,” Barson said. “We had a pretty young lineup out there today, but we were obviously very successful. It just shows that Ohio really does have a lot of soccer talent. We grew up in good programs and went to good colleges, and now we are showing that at the highest level in our country.”
Barson is grateful to Porter’s tutelage during the four years he spent at UA.
“Caleb wasn’t really yelling at me today, so it was nice to not have anything directed toward me,” Barson said. “This is the first time playing against him since he was my coach, but I knew that day was coming. He is not going to be my coach forever. I am happy for him. I am glad that he is doing well. He is definitely a good coach and they have a good team. Today, we just played better and got the result that we needed.”
The match featured several tense moments, including the final 79 minutes that the Timbers played 10 versus 11 after a red card in the 11th minute sent off defender Pa-Modou Kah following a hard challenge for possession.
Williams and Nanchoff cleanly battled for the ball in the final minutes of the match, which was nearly tied in the 87th minute when Nagbe booted a shot to the lower right that Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson dove to his left and smacked away.
“It was awesome looking around and seeing Michael, Darlington, Benny Zemanski and Ben Speas,” Williams said. “I train with all of those guys in the offseason. It is probably the first time I have been on the field with that many Ohio guys, especially with Akron and Cleveland representatives like that. It is definitely fun going up against childhood friends like that. That will stick in the memory bank for a long time.”
Williams also played at Cleveland State. Nanchoff graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School. Zemanski and Speas both graduated from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.