For the third time in 2015, Columbus Crew SC was involved in a rain delay match on Wednesday night. This time, in the game where Columbus hosted New York City FC, it was a late holdup due to lightning after the match was already nearly decided.
In a game between two teams that had never met, there was a natural feeling out process in the opening portion of the contest.
Nearly 15 minutes into the match, Crew SC had the first decent chance. It came when newcomer Harrison Afful, who made his Black & Gold debut at right back, played a square ball to Federico Higuain. The attacking midfielder juggled the ball over former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo and hit a shot out of the air. Unfortunately, Higuain did not make proper contact on the effort and it rolled right to NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
A minute later, as Columbus began to take control of the match, Higuain had another chance to open the scoring. After a long ball out of the back reached Kamara in the 18-yard box, the New York City defense got it away. The clearance fell right to Higauin at the top of the box and he unloaded a shot that was blocked by a sliding defender.
Nine minutes later and Crew SC finally got the goal they deserved. The play started with midfielder Wil Trapp playing a ball wide to winger Ethan Finlay. The attacker took on City defender Jason Hernandez and fired a low cross in front of goal that was directed home by forward Kei Kamara.
The goal marked the 18th of the season for Kamara, who leads the league in that department, and ties him with Stern John for the second most in a season in club history.
The Black & Gold continued to dominate play in the first half, but couldn't find a second goal, going into the locker room up 1-0.
In the second, half NYCFC noticeably pushed more numbers forward, looking to support striker David Villa.
That adjustment worked to perfection in the 57th minutes when midfielder Kwadwo Poku flicked the ball wide for Villa. The forward had time to look up and found Poku running into the vacated space. The ball was on point and Poku's finish crept into the back of the net to tie the game at one a piece.
Nine minutes later and City grabbed the lead thanks to Poku again. A Pirlo corner kick found midfielder Andrew Jacobson and he headed it down for a Poku strike from the top of the box that beat goalkeeper Steve Clark for the advantage.
Columbus began to come to life, looking for an equalizer and found it through second half substitute Cedrick Mabwati.
The speedster, who replaced Justin Meram on the left wing, collected a ball near the top of the box from Higuain. He played a quick give-and-go with Kamara and one-touched the pass into the net in the 72 minute on the reception.
It was a good thing Cedrick struck when he did because just four minutes later, lightning reach the vicinity of MAPFRE Stadium and the 15,514 in attendance, along with those on the field, had to be shepherd to safety. Due to playing into the 76th minute, the match could have been called.
After a wait of over an hour the match resumed, but neither side had much left. While Crew SC attacked the New York City goal, they were unable to take the lead, meaning the two sides split the points on the night.