The Columbus Crew ended their three game losing streak with a 2-2 tie against the visiting New York City FC. Pedro Santos, starting as the playmaker in Federico Higuain’s absence scored a goal and set up another with his dynamic play out of midfield.
The Crew opened the game strong with the attacking edge in the first 15 minutes of the match. They peppered the NYCFC goal with three shots. Pedro Santos and David Guzman forced saves from keeper Sean Johnson to keep the game scoreless.
Columbus set up their goal with a fast transition through David Accam in the center of the field. Finding space, the speedy winger dribbled into the heart of the NYCFC defense before slipping a pass to Santos. The Portuguese was pushed to the ground and earned a penalty. Gyasi Zardes finished the penalty kick to push the Crew ahead 1-0 in the 28th minute.
The rest of the first half was a rugged affair as neither team was able to create much offense. The visitors fouled often when the Crew found the ball. It slowed the team’s transitions and stifled the offense.
The red continued after halftime as Columbus was slowed by New York’s aggressive fouling and unable to build any fluidity with the ball. It left the door open for NYCFC to get back into the game.
New York City FC equalized early in the second half as the Crew defense was done in by a bad bounce and a failed stop. Maxi Moralez got the ball into Heber unmarked and he wouldn’t miss the easy finish from eight yards to equalize in the 57th minute.
Columbus wasted no time in grabbing the next goal. Accam found space in the middle after a Crew recovery and drive through the NYCFC midfield. As the defense collapsed, he fed the ball to the right. Santos hit the ball one time and fired it far post past Johnson to restore the Crew lead in the 61st minute.
The visitor had another goal in them and it came from a long distance blast from Valentin Castellanos. The substitute found a pocket of space from near 30 yards out and fired a blast that beat Steffen and leveled the score at 2-2 with 15 minutes remaining.
Neither team were able to test the goal as the game devolved into a scrum as the foul count ticked higher. NYCFC was happy to grind out the come from behind draw while the Crew struggled with the lack of impact offensive depth on the bench to change the game. The match sputtered to a 2-2 draw.
That’s the number of saves that Zack Steffen had to make in the game. Neither were of the highlight variety that saved the Crew in games past, but he was his usual calming presence in goal. Steady on the ball, he cooly passed the ball under pressure.
Fouls, Fouls, Fouls
There was a combined 37 fouls between the two teams. The Crew set a season high with 20 fouls committed. The visitors committed 17 fouls. It made for a disjointed game as both teams failed to develop and offensive fluidity.
A three week break in league play. The next regular season game is Sunday, June 23rd at MAPFRE Stadium against Sporting Kansas City. The Crew will next play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Tuesday, June 11th in Open Cup play. That game kicks off at 7pm and also at MAPFRE.