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Afful’s long-range curler up for MLS Goal of the Week

The Ghanian’s effort from deep helped seal three point for Crew SC

MLS: New York City FC at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC secured an important three point on Saturday night. The Black & Gold defeated New York City FC 2-1 but it wasn’t without some issues. Despite controlling the game — Crew SC had 24 shots to City’s seven — Columbus again struggled to find the back of the net.

In the 53rd minute, against the run of play, the Black & Gold found themselves down 1-0 after Ismael Tajouri-Shradi jumped on a deflection inside his attacking penalty box and beat goalkeeper Zack Steffen for the second half advantage.

The lead would not last long though thanks to Harrison Afful. The fullback, who is tied for the Major League Soccer lead for shots by a defender, fired another one that deflected off a defender’s head and came back to the Ghanian. Afful then uncorked a curling screamer that, thanks to a duck from Lalas Abubakar, beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson to tie the match.

On Monday, it was announced that Afful’s strike was up for MLS Goal of the Week honors.

Afful is now Crew SC’s third-leading goal scorer with two finishes on the season. Winger Justin Meram, who was reacquired by Columbus earlier this month, scored the winner off of a corner kick two minutes later. This three points pulled the Black & Gold within five points of NYCFC and gave them a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Union for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

While Afful’s finish was superb, he has some competition around the league, including a couple of other long-range efforts.

San Jose Earthquakes winger Magnus Eriksson also fired a shot from outside the penalty box. His effort gave the Quakes a 3-2 lead over FC Dallas in the 54th minute as part of a 4-3 win.

The Vancouver Whitecaps got another screamer from midfielder Nicolas Mezquida. He hit his shot from a similar spot as Eriksson, lifting his effort over the outstretched San Jose goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead in what would be a 2-1 win for the Whitecaps.

Real Salt Lake attacking midfielder Albert Rusnak hit a 68th minute volley into the net to give his side a 5-2 lead over the LA Galaxy. RSL added one more goal in a 6-2 route of Los Angeles.

The final nominee comes from Los Angeles Football Club’s Carlos Vela. The Mexican forward was able to finish his shot from nearly on the end line for a stoppage time insurance goal in a 4-2 win over Toronto FC.

You can watch all of the goals above and determine which you think is the best, but if you’re reading this here, we already know who you’re voting for. You can get your vote in on MLSSoccer.com