COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC clinched a berth in the Audi 2017 Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs with their 2-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night in Columbus thanks to a goal apiece from defender Josh Williams and midfielder Justin Meram.
The Black & Gold are undefeated in the last eight games with just two remaining in the regular season.
Williams was the first to #ClaimGlory when he scored his second goal in two games in the 14th minute on a header that bounced once before falling just inside the left post after a towering corner kick was sent in by midfielder Federico Higuain.
Meram doubled the Crew SC lead in the 56th minute when he received a pass from midfielder Artur on the left wing and dribbled before firing a ball toward the far post that found the back of the net after kissing the underside of the cross bar.
Higuain has recorded four assists in his last two matches. His 11 helpers on the year mark a new career high for the veteran. He now owns 46 assists and sole possession of second place all-time for the Black & Gold in the category, passing Brian McBride with 45.
The goal was Meram’s 10th at home this season and 13th overall. Artur’s assist tally now sits at three.
Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen pitched a shutout with his defense in the victory. With the win, Steffen now owns the club record for most wins by a first-year goalkeeper with 15. Steffens two saves on the night brought his season and career total to 91.
The man that Steffen passed for the record, former Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark, was in the net for United on Saturday. Clark played three years for the Black & Gold from 2014-16, starting 100 consecutive games and recording 22 shutouts in his time with Columbus.
Columbus (15-12-5, 50 points) remained in fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference following the match while D.C. (9-18-5, 32 points) stayed in 11th place.
Crew SC’s firepower was too much for United during the game at MAPFRE Stadium. The stat sheet showed in favor of the Black & Gold on shots (14-8) and shots on goal (5-2).
Columbus will attempt to #ClaimGlory once again when it closes the regular season with two matches on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22.
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistants: Kathryn Nesbitt, Claudiu Badea
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Video Assistant Referee: Kevin Terry Jr.
14’ – CLB – Josh Williams (Federico Higuain)
56’ – CLB – Justin Meram (Artur)
DC – Russell Canouse (Caution) 18’
CLB – Jonathan Mensah (Caution) 49’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Hector Jimenez (Jukka Raitala 70’), Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful; Artur, Wil Trapp ©; Justin Meram (Niko Hansen 83’), Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos (Kekuta Manneh 75’); Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Lalas Abubakar, Mohammed Abu, Adam Jahn
D.C. United: Steve Clark; Chris Korb, Kofi Opare, Jalen Robinson, Sean Franklin ©; Russell Canouse, Ian Harkes; Lloyd Sam (Bruno Miranda 82’), Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola (Zoltan Stieber 55’); Deshorn Brown (Patrick Mullins 70’)"
Substitutes not used: Eric Klenofsky, Jared Jeffrey, Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon
Taking the lead
In the 65th all-time meeting between the Crew SC and D.C. United, the Black & Gold took the lead in terms of the all-time record between the two clubs. Columbus has 28-27-11 record overall against United and an 18-7-7 record at MAPFRE Stadium.
With their 2-0 victory over D.C. United, Crew SC now owns 12 victories at home this season, the most in club history. The Black & Gold’s home point tally now stands at 38, their most since earning 36 points at home during the 2012 campaign.
Another for the captain
Crew SC captain and midfielder Wil Trapp made his landmark 125th appearance for Columbus during the match. Trapp tallied 35 successful passes on D.C.’s half and three interceptions during the game.