Welcome to the first installment of 2014's Moments of the Year, as named by yours truly. Over this week, we'll count down my top five moments of the 2014 season that was for your Black & Gold. We'll start with today's moment, number five, and count down to the top moment of the year.
Checking in at number five is the Black & Gold's 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on October 19. This match began a clear escalation of both importance and intensity for the Crew. Just one day earlier, Toronto FC failed to win against Montreal, which secured a Playoff berth for the Black & Gold. As such, this match could have gone a number of ways. Would the excitement of officially being in the postseason be enough? Or would the Crew turn on the jets even further? The fact that the match was being played at Red Bull Arena, historically a difficult place to play for any team, was another interesting element in the pre-match buildup. Throw in the fact that I traveled to attend this match in person, and there was a palpable build-up for me.
As you know, the Black & Gold capitalized on any and all expectations -- perhaps exceeding them in a 3-1 victory. The first goal came fairly early in the match, a dream start courtesy of Aaron Schoenfeld:
Then Ethan Finlay made it 2-0 before halftime. That's the moment when this match started to really sink in.
Despite the 2-0 lead, you just knew that a quality team like New York would make a run, especially at home. They did, scoring to make it 2-1, but then the Black & Gold had one of their most impressive match-closing sequences of the year, clamping down and getting the insurance tally late.
The Crew was 1-10-5 over its last 16 trips to New York. Winning there, in this resounding fashion, was an incredible result in and of itself. Toss in the importance in the Playoff race, and it's clear why this moment stands out as memorable in the context of this season.
What do you think the rest of the list should look like? We'll reveal moments four through one, one per day, over this week at ColumbusCrewSC.com.