While Columbus continues to tread above the playoff line, Colorado is now winless in its last six matches.
Crew SC opened scoring with a quiet goal in the first 20 minutes of play against Colorado. Midfielder Justin Meram slotted a ball to Federico Higuain, who quickly back-heeled a ball into the penalty box. Forward Gysai Zardes hit a one-hit shot over the diving Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard for the opening goal. Zardes is a score away from a career-high 17 goals.
Less than ten minutes after the Columbus goal, defender Josh Williams tripped up a Rapids' player 10 yards outside the penalty box. Four Rapids players gathered around the ball for a free kick. Instead of discussing tactics, Colorado forward Shkelzen Gashi caught Columbus' backline off guard and scored the equalizer.
In an equally physical start to the second half, defender Deklan Wynne challenged Pedro Santos from behind. The referee immediately showed Wynne a red card, motioning his knee upward to mimic what he saw from the challenge. The call changed the pace of the game in Columbus's favor.
Shortly after the foul, Crew SC captain Wil Trapp lobbed a ball from midfield to the waiting Artur. The midfielder drew Howard out of the goal, but opted for the pass instead of taking the shot. Higuain took advantage of the open net and slotted in the winning goal for Crew SC.
Columbus quietly managed a tired Rapids side for the remaining 30 minutes to come away with all three points. Columbus has one more game played and four points more than the Union, who come to town next week for a pivotal watch with major playoff implications.
- 17' – CLB – Gyasi Zardes | WATCH
- 26' – COL – Shkelzen Gashi | WATCH
- 57' – CLB – Federico Higuain | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: After pulling together a second-half victory against 10-man Colorado, it is on to the next one for Columbus Crew SC. And the next one is a big one. Columbus, who have played one more game, is four points ahead of Philadelphia. The Union face off against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday before making the trek Saturday to MAPFRE Stadium. The Union and Crew SC are battling over fourth place for the time being.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Gashi's free kick goal stunned everyone but his team Saturday against Columbus. While goalkeeper Zack Steffen was still calling for numbers on the wall and setting up his backline, Gashi smashed one into the opposite side of the net for the first half equalizer.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: With a goal and an assist, Higuain is the Man of the Match for Columbus. He marked both goal and assist columns on the score sheet for the first in more than three months.