Photos: Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City FC
Columbus Crew SC made another night to remember as the play-off run continued with a 4-1 walloping over a stunned New York City FC in the first leg of the Eastern Semifinals at a feisty MAPFRE Stadium. With #SavetheCrew dominating the stands, a healthy attendance turned the stadium into a cauldron of noise as fans minced no words in letting the clubs owners know how they were feeling.
Crew SC gave the home fans more reasons to believe in the sixth minute when Ola Kamara was first to react to a rebounded shot after NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson’s low save saw the ball fall to the Crew forward in front of goal.
The rest of the half saw chances fall to both teams as mistakes, slips and misplaced passes threatened to spell disaster for both teams. Yet, somehow it remained 1-0 at the break.
The turning point for the game came early in the second half when, after that weird but effective video review system, Alexander Callens was given a straight red for an elbow into the face of Justin Meram.
Crew SC took full advantage of the man advantage and put NYCFC under constant pressure. Artur doubled the lead just six minutes later after another mistake in the middle of the pitch.
Sean Johnson will likely want to quickly forget his fluffed save that saw Justin Meram’s strike on goal that bounced off his hands and into the goal to give the Crew an almost unbelievable lead.
New York mounted some late pressure as Columbus lost their shape a little after a couple of substitutions from both teams and David Villa managed to pounce on the error-prone Jonathan Mensah’s slip to grab a consolation goal.
Harrison Afful made sure Crew fans were going home on a high note with an unexpected dribble past what looked like the entire NYCFC team before calmly slotting the ball into the goal.
Game two takes place on Sunday.
Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found at Matt Ellis Photography.