The 2016 season is done. Columbus Crew SC finishes outside the playoffs in 9th place in the Eastern Conference after their 4-1 loss against New York City FC. Ola Kamara scored his 16th goal on the season, but New York City FC got goals from Stiven Mendoza, Jack Harrison, Khiry Shelton, and David Villa. Columbus finishes the year tied for the least amount of wins in a season with the 2006 Crew team. They finish 8-14-12 and 36 points.
In a minor surprise, Crew SC started Federico Higuain and Kamara after both had been out due to injury. Cristian Martinez and Brad Stuver picked up their second consecutive starts. Columbus looked much more cohesive to open the game on the tiny Yankee Stadium field, getting off several early shots, The New York defense was well positioned to keep the ball from getting to keeper Eirik Johansen.
Columbus would once again give up a first goal in New York just before half. David Villa had been active throughout the first half, but finally was able to conjure a goal. He was able to slip the ball on to Mendoza in front of goal. The finish was simple and put the home side up.
Crew SC would get one back on the other side of halftime as NYCFC started easing up. Justin Meram was free along the left flank and put in a beautiful pass to a wide open Kamara. The free header was an easy conversion just inside the six.
Columbus had hopes of getting away with a point, but with the simultaneous kickoffs, New York City FC knew they needed all three points and pushed numbers forward. They'd be rewarded with two quick goals to secure the victory.
The first goal came off a ball swung in from the right in the 75th minute. The defense over shifted to cover Frank Lampard and Harrison had a a free look at the Crew SC goal from 12 yards. He made no doubt with a rip to put the home side up again.
Two minutes later with Crew SC pushing forward, NYCFC pounced on the break. Harrison got over the ball after a block and saw Shelton pushing forward and the Columbus defense stretched. The Englishman pushed the ball up and clear of the defense. Shelton found himself free on goal and slotted it past Stuver for a 3-1 lead.
Crew SC thought they got a goal back in the 79th minute. Higuain fired in a set piece that was flicked on by a NYCFC defender. Tony Tchani powered the ball in, but it was quickly waved off for a foul called against the towering Cameroonian midfielder.
The hosts would emphatically end the game with the last kick of the ball. On the counter, Villa would chip to Lampard. The Crew SC cut out the pass, but the ball fell to the Spaniard. He hammered a right footed shot for a goal. A fitting end to a terrible season.
Columbus now has a long offseason to figure out what went wrong. There will be changes as the team expected to push for MLS Cup misses the playoffs and finishes 18th in MLS.