Columbus Crew SC 2, New York Red Bulls 0 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap
Columbus Crew SC picked up a second straight convincing win to start their MLS is Back Tournament campaign, topping the New York Red Bulls 2-0 in Group E play on Thursday on the strength of goals from Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan.
With the victory, Columbus vaulted to the top of Group E and punched their ticket to the Knockout Stage of the tournament.
Zardes found the opener for Columbus in the 22nd minute after Pedro Santos collected a throw-in and found the US international in stride for a wide-open chance against RBNY goalkeeper David Jensen. Zardes was clinical with the finish, giving the Crew the first-half lead.
Columbus had a golden look at doubling that advantage on the half-hour mark when Zardes got free on a breakaway and dished off to Derrick Etienne Jr., who had a look on an open goal, only to put it into the side netting.
The Crew found their second shortly after second-half kickoff, though, when Etienne atoned for the miss by winning possession in RBNY's half and making a charging run down the left flank, before dishing to Zelarayan at the top of the area. The Argentine playmaker then lashed a perfectly placed first-time strike past Jensen and into the net.
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Zardes got it all started with his goal and he's now scored three times in two games to start the tournament. He also would have had an assist with some more clinical finishing on Etienne's first-half chance.
- THE BIG PICTURE: After the Crew's dismantling of FC Cincinnati in their first match, the question became if they could transfer that over to what promised to be a tougher defense. There's still a long way to go, but for the moment, they seem to have answered any doubts that still existed about their quality with Thursday's performance, which was frankly even more one-sided than the 2-0 scoreline might indicate. Columbus look like one of the biggest forces to be reckoned with through two games of this tournament.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It wasn't quite the stunner that he scored against FC Cincy, but Zelarayan's goal was another class finish.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Darlington Nagbe just keeps on churning at the age of 29 in his 10th MLS season. If the midfield metronome keeps playing like this, it just makes Columbus that much more potent.
Darlington Nagbe completed all 37 of his passes in the first half. #CLBvRBNY— Ben Baer (@BenBaer89) July 17, 2020