Zardes' two-goal effort – coupled with a goal and two assists from Santos – kept Columbus within striking distance of the Eastern Conference's seven Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs places with five regular-season games remaining. Miami have now lost six straight for the second time this season and were shut out for the fourth game in a row, further sinking their postseason hopes.
After a slow start, Columbus beat Nick Marsman in the 40th minute through Zardes. Fresh off representing the US men's national team during October's international break, the veteran forward flicked home a header off Santos' feed to make it 1-0.
Moments later, in the 44th minute, Santos scored a goal of his own. Darlington Nagbe pounced on a Gonzalo Higuain turnover from a throw-in and slipped it centrally to the Portuguese winger for a simple finish that doubled the hosts' advantage.
Then, Santos and Zardes combined once more with just over 25 minutes remaining. Santos ripped a brilliant pass from the right side to the Crew striker, who secured his brace with a bouncing header as Columbus' lead grew to 3-0. Miami then conceded an own goal in the 83rd minute through center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez for the match's final tally.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Crew had plenty of time to stew over a 3-0 loss at the Philadelphia Union on October 3, and they responded with their highest goal output of the 2021 season. The difficulty level increases as they travel to Nashville SC on Wednesday to face a club that's yet to lose at Nissan Stadium this year. Miami saw things go from bad to worse as their goalless stretch continued. Phil Neville's side was clearly second-best on the night.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It was the Santos and Zardes show in Columbus. They made it look easy at times, like when they combined for the 3-0 strike.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It was easily Santos' best performance of the year, as the Portuguese attacker delivered his first multi-point effort since notching two assists against Toronto FC on May 29.