The home side had already been eliminated from the playoffs and had little to play for with the season winding down, but they started solidly against Crew SC. Orlando would tally 11 shots in the first half, but none would test Zack Steffen and the Columbus goal.
Crew SC would have the better chances, the best may have come in the 15th minute as Ola Kamara and Justin Meram played a couple one touch passes to get the Iraqi international clear on goal. His shot would go inches wide left.
Less than five minutes later, Meram would return the favor as the Orlando City defense was again split. The pass across the goalmouth just missed Kamara’s outstretched foot.
Columbus would finally break the deadlock in the 66th minute. The Crew SC offense would connect 10 passes that would again split the Orlando defense. The breakthrough came when Federico Higuain took the ball at the top of the box and chose to swing it wide left to Hector Jimenez who took two touches towards the touchline and fired in a cross. Kamara cleanly finished the move to give the deserved lead.
Orlando would only get off two more shots the rest of the game, both blocked, as they tried to tie the game, but the Crew SC defense proved too tough.
17 - Kamara’s exploits
The goal scoring Norwegian has tallied 17 times against 15 different clubs, but few were as big as his goal today. The score put Crew SC ahead and kept them ahead as the unbeaten streak runs to nine. While the Columbus offense hasn’t been as explosive as Toronto, Atlanta, or Chicago’s, they come through through some excellent team effort and outstanding vision and finishes by their star striker.
16 - Wins on the season
This is the most wins in the Gregg Berhalter era and tied for the most points at 53. In any other season, Crew SC would be secure in at least a home game and perhaps a bye, but the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference has pushed Columbus to the fifth spot in the conference. Those wins are still important, that’s the first tiebreaker in the MLS Standings as Columbus still has a chance to host a first round game. A win next week puts them in at least fourth place.
Columbus heads to Queens, New York to face NYCFC. Crew SC are already in the playoffs, but positioning and a home playoff game are to play for. All MLS games kick off at 5pm ET on Sunday evening.