FLUSHING, N.Y. – Columbus Crew SC came away with a 2-2 draw at Citi Field against New York City FC on Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, presented by AT&T. Columbus was powered by goals from forward Ola Kamara and defender Josh Williams that offset a brace by NYCFC forward David Villa.
With Sunday’s match marking the end of the regular season, the Black & Gold will have a chance to #ClaimGlory when they begin play in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs against Atlanta United FC on the road in the upcoming mid-week Knockout Round.
Kamara found pay dirt in the 11th minute and put Crew SC ahead 1-0. The forward received a floated ball from midfielder Federico Higuain and sent the ball into the net near the right post with his left foot. The goal was the 18th of Kamara’s career-high season and the 34th in his career with Crew SC.
New York City equalized in the 18th minute off a Villa header. Villa received a corner kick from midfielder Maximiliano Moralez and brought the score level at 1-1.
Villa struck again in the 45th minute to put NYCFC ahead 2-1. The forward dribbled on the left side of the field before gathering and striking a ball that would find the net after ricocheting off the hands of Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
The score was brought back level in the 58th minute on a header by Williams. The defender gained superior position over New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson and sent home his third goal in four matches. His three goals this season tie a career high for the veteran. Higuain provided the corner-kick assist, bringing his season total to 14 helpers and his career total to 49.
Crew SC held serve during stoppage time when Steffen deflected and saved a penalty kick attempt by Villa that would have given New York City the victory. Steffen tied a career high for saves in a match on Sunday with seven.
Columbus was on its toes defensively in the match and won more duels (50-49) and tackles (17-12) than their adversaries in New York City.
The Black & Gold preserved their unbeaten streak, extending it to 10. Columbus (16-12-6, 54 points) finished the regular season in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings while New York City (16-9-9, 57 points) finished second.
Venue: Citi Field (Flushing, New York)
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistants: Brian Dunn, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Sorin Stoica
Video Assistant Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
11’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Federico Higuain)
18’ – NYC – David Villa (Maximiliano Moralez)
45’ – NYC – David Villa
58' – CLB – Josh Williams (Federico Higuain)
NYC – Yangel Herrera (Caution) 69’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Jukka Raitala, Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful; Mohammed Abu (Adam Jahn 79’), Wil Trapp ©; Justin Meram (Kekuta Manneh 66’), Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos; Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Lalas Abubakar, Hector Jimenez, Artur, Cristian Martinez
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Frederic Brillant, Ethan White; Maximiliano Moralez, Alexander Ring, Yangel Herrera (Jonathan Lewis 87’); Rodney Wallace (Ronald Matarrita 82’), David Villa ©, Jack Harrison (Khiry Shelton 77’)
Substitutes not used: Eirik Johansen, Thomas McNamara, Andrea Pirlo, Andraz Struna
Sunday’s matchup was the seventh all-time between the two clubs. The overall tally currently stands level at 2-2-3 and 1-1-1 in away matches for Crew SC against NYCFC.
Rewriting the record books
Kamara’s 18 regular season goals tied him with Stern John’s landmark 1999 season. The two now share the rights to the third-most goals in a season in Black & Gold.