Crew SC had a big chance early. With the Impact playing a compressed defense, Federico Higuain played a ball from the midfield over the defense to Harrison Afful. The right back had broken perfectly past the backline and was in on goal. His shot was blocked by Evan Bush to keep the game scoreless.
The Impact had been content to sit back, but they’d get the first goal. Silva would get the ball down the right side and cut into the box. He drove a low cross that was blocked by Josh Williams. Montreal claimed handball and referee Alan Kelly would stop the game in a lull 30 seconds later. After a quick look on the video review, Kelly awarded the penalty. Saphir Taider struck the ball down the middle as Steffen dove left and the Impact had a shock lead.
Columbus nearly evened up the game as Pedro Santos slipped down the right side and lobbed a cross into the Impact penalty box. Gyasi Zardes powered a header, but it was right at Bush for the save and to keep the lead for the home side.
The hosts would double the lead just before the half. Again it was Silva creating the danger, but this time he finished it. Taider took a ball into space in midfield and found Silva moving into the defensive third. He beat an overextended Milton Valenzuela and charged into the space that Jonathan Mensah and Josh Williams retreated from to try and get into position. Silva took the space and fired a shot from 22 yards and beat Steffen to make it 2-0 in the 44th minute.
Any hopes for a Crew SC comeback was ended in the 59th minute on a well executed counterattack. Pedro Santos sent in a corner kick that was cleared out. Taider once again made the play out of midfield to transition. He found Ignacio Piatti on the left side. The wily Argentine cut inside and fired a far side shot past Steffen to make it 3-0 and the rout was complete.
Columbus would press to claw a goal back, but wouldn’t be able to beat Bush. The best chance came in the 78th minute. Afful cut the ball from the edge of the box. Zardes clipped the ball with his heel and it fell in from of Patrick Mullins. Mullins stabbed at the ball, but it was pushed wide.
Crew SC would fail to create another chance to test Bush and the Impact and fell scoreless on the road for the 10th time this season.
Only the Colorado Rapids have scored fewer goals than Crew SC’s 39 in the league. Crew SC’s -2 goal differential is second worst of the playoff teams. Columbus has now gone two straight games without a goal and have been shut out 12 times this season. They have gone 0-7-5 in those games. The defense may be keeping in Columbus in games, but the offense will need to step up if Columbus hopes to finish the season strong and make any noise in the playoffs.
Falling to Fifth
The team’s struggles over the last month has cost them a home playoff game at the moment. After failing to beat the Philadelphia Union last week, they held 4th place by a single point over the Union. With the defeat, Philadelphia was able to vault over Columbus and now holds a two point advantage on the race to the last home field play-in game.
The loss drops Columbus to 13-10-9 on the season with 48 points. Crew SC has two weeks and an international break to try and dig out of their slide with a trip to Orlando.