A rapid response from Nashville SC rescued a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew Wednesday night at Nissan Stadium.

The draw keeps both Eastern Conference postseason hopefuls firmly in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs mix, with Columbus three points from the final seventh-and-final berth and Nashville maintaining their grip on second place.

Against a Crew side playing without manager Caleb Porter on the touchline due to the MLS Health and Safety Protocols, Nashville were dominant in the opening exchanges. Walker Zimmerman, CJ Sapong and Hany Mukhtar all forced Columbus goalkeeper Eloy Room into saves during the first half as the home side moved the ball well and kept the Crew on the back foot.

Columbus found their way back into the match and weathered another storm early in the second half before eventually taking the lead with 15 minutes remaining. Lucas Zelarayán found the back of the net for the eighth time this season, picking out a low drive to the bottom corner after a textbook counterattack from the visitors.

It looked like Nashville were on track for just their fourth loss of the season until Mukhtar corralled a ball in the box and blasted past a helpless Room. The goal, just one minute and 46 seconds after the Crew took the lead, put Nashville on the front foot for the remainder of the match, but the hosts couldn't find a go-ahead goal.

Luke Haakenson was nearly sent off during second-half stoppage time, but referee Alex Chilowicz went to Video Review to rescind the red card, leaving both sides with 11 men and a goal apiece.

Goals

  • 75' - CLB - Lucas Zelarayán | WATCH
  • 77' - NSH - Hany Mukhtar | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Nashville couldn't take advantage of dropped points all around them in the table. The draw kept their lead over Philadelphia to three points but will feel like a missed opportunity to gain ground. On the other hand, Columbus were 15 minutes from a desperately needed win to push into playoff position, yet couldn't hold onto their lead.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Hany Mukhtar's 77th-minute equalizer came less than two minutes after Columbus went ahead, salvaging the result in dramatic fashion.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Mukhtar's 14th goal of the season was vital for Nashville in their push to secure second place in the East. Apart from the finish, the playmaker was arguably the most dangerous player on the field.

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