By JOSE M. ROMERO
On a night when the first pick in the 2011 MLS Draft scored his first professional goal, it was a veteran striker who stepped up to lead his team to victory.
Vancouver rookie Omar Salgado scored his first career goal, but Columbus striker Emilio Renteria was a handful for much of Saturday night's match and scored two goals of his own as the Columbus Crew downed Vancouver 2-1 at Crew Stadium.
The Crew (3-1-3) extended its unbeaten streak to six games and gave up only the first goal to an opponent at home all season.
The Whitecaps, despite a number of chances at picking up a road point for a draw, failed to win away from home once again and are winless at 1-4-3 since their inaugural game victory.
Columbus dominated possession and had more chances in the first half, and the Whitecaps almost gave up the first goal when a chip toward the goal by Robbie Rogers in the 28th minute floated over goalkeeper Jay Nolly's head but was cleared away.
The game was scoreless at halftime but opened up in the second half. Nolly took down Renteria in the box in the 50th minute after Rogers beat his defender around the left corner and crossed to Renteria, who was charging into the box. Nolly tackled Renteria, who earned a penalty, and Renteria drove it in the net for a 1-0 Crew lead.
Salgado was taken down by Marshall with an apparent trip in the 59th minute, but no call was made. Down at the other end, Dejan Rusmir slipped in a through ball to Renteria, who put it away past Nolly and jogged to the corner post for a salsa number celebration.
The Crew seemingly had the game well in hand up 2-0, but the Whitecaps fought back beginning with the entrance of Shea Salinas into the match as a sub in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, Salgado got a header on cross from Terry Dunfield and scored, the play set up by good runs from Davide Chiumiento and Alain Rochat.
Salgado almost added another, sliding in for a shot off a cross from Salinas but having it blocked.
The Whitecaps' best chance to draw even came in the 73rd minute when Rochat fed Nizar Khalfan at the back post, but Khlafan's attempt was blocked by Crew defender Josh Gardner. Salgado and sub Jeb Brovsky had shots blocked, and the match ended right after a Vancouver set piece was cleared away.