Though it was Zardes who eventually came up with the game's biggest moment, the first half's biggest highlight came courtesy of goalkeeper Eloy Room. Phoenix forced Room into making two saves in a matter of seconds, leaving the game goalless into the break.
It was Zardes who broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute, putting the ball in the back of the net after Lucas Zelarayan's cross found him near the goal.
Rising had their own attempts to equalize, but could not find the target with their late chances, including a Joey Calistri free kick. In the end, it was Crew SC who won their opening match of the Sun Cup to keep the team unbeaten in the preseason.
- 73' - CLB - Gyasi Zardes
Columbus Crew SC Starting XI: Eloy Room; Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Vito Wormgoor, Milton Valenzuela; Darlington Nagbe, Artur, Luis Diaz, Lucas Zelarayan, Pedro Santos; Gyasi Zardes
Phoenix Rising Starting XI: Zac Lubin; Owusu-Ansah Kontoh, A.J. Cochran, Corey Whelan, Darnell King; Solomon Asante, Kevon Lambert, Junior Flemmings; Jon Bakero, Rufat Dadashov, Santi Moar