Is that momentum you smell from Columbus Crew SC?
The Black & Gold won for the second straight week, going on the road for a 3-2 victory against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. The win builds off of last week’s 2-1 victory against the Montreal Impact, as Columbus hopes to climb out of the hole the team dug itself during the early summer.
Despite being on the road, the Crew came out the brighter side, creating the better chances early in the first half.
The first opportunity for the visitors came just 10 minutes into the match when Artur won the ball off the Red Bulls coming out of the defensive third, dribbled and fired a shot that went just wide of Luis Robles’ goal.
Two minutes later and the Black & Gold had another good chance to take the lead. Gyasi Zardes got in behind the New York defense wide and played a back-heel pass that found Argudo open in the penalty box. The midfielder from Queens took a good first touch before firing a low shot that was saved by Robles.
As has been the case too many times this year for Columbus, New York found the opening goal against the run of play. In the 15th minute, Argudo was not strong enough in a tackle at the top of the 18-yard box, leading to a cross from Marc Rzatkowski that found the head of Brian White. Although he was surrounded by Crew defenders, White won the header and put it into the net, giving the home side a 1-0 lead.
The Black & Gold did not drop their heads though, coming back with the equalizer one minute after conceding. A long ball from the kickoff found Zardes’ head. The forward flicked it back toward the middle of the penalty area, finding Argudo with space for the finish to tie the match.
In a flurry of opportunities, White nearly found his second in the 19th minute. A cross from the left side was not dealt with by center defender Aboubacar Keita and found the forward at the back post. Fortunately for the Crew, the 23 year old’s shot was high.
Zardes had the chance to give Columbus the lead in the 31st minute when he took off with the ball on the break. The forward took a bad touch in dribbling toward Robles’ goal and fired a shot over the crossbar.
After an entertaining first half, the two sides went into the halftime break tied at one each.
Coming out of halftime, the Crew made two changes, bringing in Luis Diaz for David Accam and David Guzman for Wil Trapp.
The Black & Gold started the second half on the right foot, grabbing a goal to go ahead early in the second stanza. The play started with Hector Jimenez finding Argudo down the left side. The winger dribbled into the penalty box, took a poor touch that bounced directly to Pedro Santos who finished for the 2-1 advantage.
In the 60th minute, the Red Bulls pulled one back courtesy of a penalty kick given by Video Assistant Review. After a New York corner kick played on, the center referee was called to look at the play a second time and judged that Argudo tugged down Daniel Royer. The midfielder stepped up and dispatched the penalty kick to pull the game level at 2-2.
It was a cagey period after the equalizer, as both teams looked to score but also didn’t want to concede. Both clubs had half chances to pull ahead, but neither took advantage
That is until the 84th minute when the Crew took the lead for good thanks to Santos once again. This goal came thanks to a Diaz pass down the flank for Zardes, who had space to race into the penalty box and fired a shot on target. Robles made the save but the rebound fell right to Santos in the penalty box for the finish and the 3-2 scoreline and the win.
This win will feel very good for the Crew. After getting a four-point week — a tie and a win — last week, the first positive results for the team since early June, building on the momentum was crucial on Saturday. The Black & Gold would have been happy with a point at Red Bull Arena, but instead went out and won the game, making fans that much happier in Columbus.
Remember the time when Pedro Santos couldn’t score goals for the Crew? The winger went his first two seasons with just one finish but has exploded this year with seven goals. Both goals against the Red Bulls were chances he missed scoring previous to this year.
We’ll see where this season ends for Columbus but one of the bright spots for certain is getting Santos going on the stat sheet.
The Crew will remain on the road next week, traveling to the San Jose Earthquakes for a matchup on the West Coast. That game kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night.