Different day, a very familiar story as Columbus Crew SC lost in familiar fashion to New York Red Bulls 2-1. It's the second straight loss for Crew SC as they drop a vital battle against an Eastern Conference rival.
Justin Meram got the visitors off to a good start with a 10th minute goal. After a turnover by the Red Bulls, Mohammed Saied fed the ball quickly to Meram. He then drove through two retreating defenders, slipped it right to Harrison Afful, and finished the return cross of a screened shot.
The lead would barely last a minute as the home side would push to equalize immediately. After scrambling to clear an errant Steve Clark pass, Afful pushed the ball forward and turned the ball over again. Tony Tchani and Gaston Sauro were beaten to the ball by Mike Grella who's initial shot was saved. Sasha Kljestan centered the rebound to Lloyd Sam and he finished.
The Red Bulls weren't done. They continued to press the wobbling Crew SC, challenging every backpass and not giving the defense or midfield much time on the ball. The continued pressure paid dividends again with Clark's passing again creating the chance.
The Red Bulls pressured another Michael Parkhurst backpass, with Grella forcing a blind switch by Clark. Connor Lade read the play and intercepted and drove down the let side unimpeded. His simple driven cross was easily finished by Bradley Wright Phillips to give the home side a lead in the 21st minute.
Columbus had 70 minutes to try and get something out of the game, but New York's pressure defense stymied the explosive Crew SC offense. The Black and Gold would look to find the MLS scoring leader Kei Kamara, but the Red Bulls cut off any good service and forced harmless early entry passes and long balls into the box.
Crew SC did get off 12 shots, 5 on target, but they failed to fire in a shot inside the 18 yard during the last 60 minutes of the game. Luis Robles wasn't challenged by the high powered Columbus offense. New York would slowly drop the press and drop deeper, but Crew SC could manage only manage long distance shots despite edging in the possession battle.
The past two weeks have seen Crew SC tumble in the Eastern Conference standings. They are now fourth and have Toronto FC just a point behind them in the standings with a trip to BMO field in two weeks. With Orlando City's win tonight, Crew SC also haven't secured a playoff spot quite yet. It's a near lock to get the playoffs, but hosting a home game isn't anymore.