Goals two minutes apart by Jack Harrison and Khiry Shelton sparked New York City FC to a 4-1 win over Columbus Crew SC and second place in the Eastern Conference ahead of their Audi MLS Cup Playoffs debut.

Harrison received a short pass from second-half substitute Frank Lampard and blasted a left-footed shot into the goal to give NYCFC the lead in the 75th minute.

Shelton then received a ball from Harrison two minutes later and put a low shot inside the far post from the edge of the 18-yard box.

David Villa netted his 23rd goal of the season on the final play of the game, a sensational side volley from just outside the 18-yard box.

Steven Mendoza broke the deadlock just before the stroke of halftime, latching onto a cross Villa slipped through a crowd and putting his volley into the net from eight yards out.

Villa had a chance to make the MLS Golden Boot race more interesting early in the second half, but he chipped a shot off the far post and the ball rolled across the goal line to hit the other post.

An unmarked Ola Kamara leveled in the 59th minute, receiving a cross from Justin Meram and putting a powerful header into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Box Score

  • 45’ – NYC – Steven Mendoza (David Villa)
  • 59’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Justin Meram, Corey Ashe)
  • 75’ – NYC – Jack Harrison (Frank Lampard)
  • 77’ – NYC – Khiry Shelton (Jack Harrison)
  • 90+3’ – NYC – David Villa (Frank Lampard)

Three Things

  1. 2016 TURNAROUND: NYCFC and Columbus Crew SC finished the 2016 regular season vastly different than they closed out the 2015 campaign. A year ago, Columbus were second in the East with 53 points and en route to a second appearance in MLS Cup. NYCFC were eighth in the East with 37 points in their inaugural season, missing out on the postseason. For Columbus, it’s a drop of 17 points year to year, while NYCFC gained 17 points.
  2. HOME SWEET HOME: NYCFC closed out the regular season unbeaten at home in their last eight matches, dating back to a 3-2 defeat to Real Salt Lake on June 2.
  3. WHAT A TIME FOR A DEBUT: Until Sunday, Eirik Johansen’s only match action came in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup loss to the New York Cosmos and a friendly at Necaxa a few weeks ago. But there he was, replacing Josh Saunders, who made 59 consecutive league starts in goal, dating back to April 24, 2015. The Norwegian netminder acquitted himself well in league debut, registering six saves as NYCFC assured themselves of a bye to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Next Up 

NYC: Sunday, Oct. 30 at Higher Seeded Knockout Round Winner