Columbus Crew SC lost its first away match in over two months - after winning four straight - when the Black & Gold fell to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night. Crew SC took an early lead on a Justin Meram goal in the 10th minute, but the Red Bulls responded quickly, equalizing only two minutes later on a Llyod Sam strike. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the game winner in the 21st, as Crew SC kept fighting for the equalizer but saw its best a chance - a 75th-minute strike by Federico Higuain - blocked by goalkeeper Luis Robles. Below are a few key numbers to take away from the match.
Gaston Sauro made his second start as a member of the Black & Gold. His debut came on September 6 against FC Dallas, when the defender had to be substituted after a collision with Wil Trapp only five minutes into the match. This time around, Sauro played 86 minutes before being replaced by forward Jack McInerney.
Midfielder Justin Meram's goal was his fifth of the season. The Iraq international has now registered back-to-back seasons of at least five goals. Meram's opener was assisted by defender Harrison Afful, who notched his second helper in seven appearances with Crew SC.
Waylon Francis made his 50th appearance and start for Crew SC. In those 50 appearances the defender has notched 12 assists.
Steve Clark made five saves against the Red Bulls. The goalkeeper now has 104 saves on the season, becoming just the third goalkeeper in club history to reach at least 100 saves in consecutive seasons. He joins Jon Busch (104 in 2003, 132 in 2004) and Mark Dougherty (106 in 1999, 111 in 2000).
Federico Higuain took three corner kicks on Saturday setting a new club record for corners in a single seasson. The midfielder has now taken 137 in total this reason surpassing his previous record of 134.
Crew SC players Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay spent Wednesday afternoon at Magic Mountain Polaris with eight teenagers from Gladden Community House.
The youth got the chance to play laser tag and drive go-karts with the players and received a Crew SC mini-ball signed by Ethan and Justin.
Gladden Community House is a non-profit agency that provides education and recreation programs along with other services to Franklinton and its surrounding neighborhoods.
This event is part of Crew SC’s “Give Forward” initiative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.
Crew SC remains one point away from clinching a playoff spot, and sits at third in the Eastern Conference in Week 30 of MLS action. Columbus and New England are tied with 47 points in 31 matches, and the Black & Gold’s next opponent sits at the top of the table—the New York Red Bulls. After a close 2-1 loss at home to the Portland Timbers last weekend, here’s how Crew SC fares in this week’s MLS Power Rankings:
MLSsoccer.com drops Columbus two spots from third to fifth, citing defensive difficulties.
SI.com takes Crew SC from second to sixth this week, but states its optimism looking ahead. Sports Illustrated mentions a road win this weekend could push Columbus into first in the East.
ESPNFC.com brings the Black & Gold down a notch from sixth to fifth, but highlights Kei Kamara’s 22nd goal of the season.