Columbus Crew SC have booked a spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, spoiling head coach Gerhard Struber's debut by scoring three straight goals in a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at MAPFRE Stadium during a Round One game of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The clubs entered halftime deadlocked at 1-1, but the Crew opened a 2-1 lead through Darlington Nagbe 23 seconds into the second half. Lucas Zelarayan first hit the post with a long-range shot, then Derrick Etienne Jr.’s shot was parried away and Nagbe followed up in the 46th minute to clean everything up.
GOAL | Nagbe pounces on rebound for second career postseason goal
The momentum carried into the 68th minute when Gyasi Zardes cushioned a looping header back across goal for the 3-1 lead. He latched onto a deep cross from Etienne Jr. at the back post, then supplied the eventual game-winner.
GOAL | Zardes with the back-post header
The Crew seemed to be cruising comfortably, but the Red Bulls made it 3-2 through Brian White in the 90th minute. The forward one-timed home a low, driven Jared Stroud cross from the right flank, making for a frenetic finish that nearly saw Tom Barlow provide an equalizer in the 93rd minute.
To spark their three-goal run, Columbus first had to respond to an opening tally from RBNY youngster Caden Clark. The midfielder laced home a left-footed strike from near the PK spot after a poor Crew clearance, giving New York a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
However, Columbus quickly responded in the 26th minute via a Pedro Santos penalty kick to draw the game level at 1-1. He was tripped up in the 18-yard box by Dru Yearwood, then narrowly beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara with his left-footed shot.
PK GOAL | Santos is cool from the spot
Now, Columbus awaits the winner of No. 2 Toronto FC and No. 7 Nashville SC, as they get set for a meeting on Sunday, Nov. 29.
By Crew SC Communications
- Gyasi Zardes scored the game-winning goal in today’s 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls. Zardes’ goal came in the 68th minute, when he headed in a cross from Derrick Etienne Jr. This was Zardes’ fourth goal in MLS postseason action, as well as his second MLS postseason goal with the Black & Gold. Notably, Zardes has scored a goal in both of his MLS Cup Playoffs appearances at MAPFRE Stadium, having also scored in a 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals match against the New York Red Bulls (November 4).
- Pedro Santos scored his first MLS post-season goal during today’s match. The midfielder scored his goal in the 26th minute, when he converted a penalty kick to bring Crew SC level with the New York Red Bulls. Additionally, the goal was Santos' second penalty kick goal of the year, as he previously converted a penalty kick attempt during a road contest against FC Cincinnati (October 14). In 2020, Santos has registered seven goals and eight assists across all competitions for Crew SC.
- Darlington Nagbe scored Crew SC’s second foal in today’s home win over the New York Red Bulls. Nagbe’s goal came in the 46th-minute, when he fired a shot from inside the box following a deflection. This is Nagbe’s second goal in MLS postseason action, as he previously scored the game-winning goal for the Portland Timbers in a 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs match against the Seattle Sounders (November 2).
- Tonight’s match was the eighth all time post-season meeting between Crew SC and the New York Red Bulls dating back to 1998. The Black & Gold hold a 5-2-1 record against the Red Bulls over that span, including victories over RBNY to win the 2008 MLS Cup and the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship.
- Up next, Crew SC is set to face the winner of the Eastern Conference Round One match between Toronto FC and Nashville SC on Sunday, November 29. TV and radio broadcast information will be announced at a later time.