Columbus Crew SC have not lost since August 5 and they were able to continue their winning form on Tuesday night as they beat New York City FC 4-1 in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Ola Kamara started the scoring early, pouncing on a rebound to put his side up just six minutes in. Somehow the match entered halftime with just one goal but the second half did not stay quiet for long.
Alexander Callens was shown a red card in the 52nd minute after Video Review showed that he elbowed Justin Meram in the face during a corner kick. Ismail Elfath, who started the game as a fourth official but was moved to the center after Alan Kelly did not feel well enough to continue, showed the card to Callens.
Artur did not waste much time making NYCFC pay, scoring just six minutes later after a mistake by Alexander Ring. Meram added Crew SC's third after Sean Johnson whiffed on an easy save.
David Villa was able to get a consolation goal for the away side, pouncing on a Jonathan Mensah error to score NYCFC's first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs goal.
But Harrison Afful ensured the night belonged to Crew SC, dribbling through multiple NYCFC defenders in the box to put Columbus up three heading to New York.
- 6' - CLB - Ola Kamara Watch
- 58' - CLB - Artur Watch
- 69' - CLB - Justin Meram Watch
- 78' - NYC - David Villa Watch
- 93' - CLB - Harrison Afful Watch
HALF OF MISSED CHANCES:
Crew SC were able to take the lead early on through Kamara’s early goal but the scoreline could have been vastly different if either team were able finish some great chances. Meram missed a wide open net off the rebound in the 32nd minute, David Villa hit the post in the 37th minute, Kamara missed a huge chance of his own in the 40th minute and
closed out the half by pulling a shot just wide inside the box.
IS THE SERIES OVER?:
When Villa scored to put the score at 3-1, it looked NYCFC had some life heading back to the Bronx. But after Afful was able to stretch the lead back to three, the difference once again seems insurmountable. If they were to advance, it would be the largest deficit overcome in a playoff series between Leg 1 and Leg 2.
- CLB: Sunday, Nov. 5 at New York City FC (5 pm ET; ESPN in US | TSN1, TVAS in Canada)
- NYC: Sunday, Nov. 5 vs. Columbus Crew SC (5 pm ET; ESPN in US | TSN1, TVAS in Canada)