Two goals in two minutes from Columbus Crew SC's Harrison Afful and Justin Meram propelled the Black & Gold to a 2-1 comeback victory over New York City FC on Saturday, Sept. 1 at MAPFRE Stadium to extend Crew SC's home-match win streak to four straight.
Despite being scoreless after the first 45 minutes, Crew SC had the upper hand with 10 shots through the first half, including three on-target. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen kept things level early on, making three saves in the process, including two early nabs to record his 150th career save for Columbus.
Speaking of the number "150," captain Wil Trapp earned his 150th MLS appearance - all with Crew SC - while Meram tallied his 150th career start with the Club after making his second consecutive start for the Black & Gold since his return to Columbus.
NYCFC took advantage of the counter-attack to get on the board in the 53rd minute, however. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi ultimately got in behind the defensive line and curled it far-post to take a 1-0 lead.
Merely eight minutes later, Afful tallied his second goal of the season from distance to level at 1-1. A bouncing ball in the box found Afful with a half-volley opportunity that the Ghanaian did not waste.
With momentum, Crew SC doubled down just two minutes later. This time, Meram came through on a corner kick to secure his first goal since returning to Columbus. Pedro Santos delivered a back-post header for Meram, who buried the header to give the home side a 2-1 advantage.
On the night, Crew SC outshot NYCFC 24-7, including a 6-4 edge in shots on frame. Federico Higuain recorded the assist on Afful's goal - his fourth of the season - while Santos earned the helper on Meram's finish.
Up next, Crew SC receives a bye week before heading west to face FC Dallas on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Columbus' next home match takes place on Saturday, Sept. 22, against the Colorado Rapids as part of Hispanic Heritage Night, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Justin Meram made his 150th MLS regular-season start in tonight’s match against New York City FC. He also scored the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute as he headed a corner kick from Pedro Santos past New York City FC’s Sean Johnson. This season, Meram has made four regular-season appearances (two starts) for Crew SC, and he has made 192 MLS regular-season appearances (135 starts), registering 39 goals and 36 assists for the Black & Gold since making his MLS debut in 2011.
- Defender Harrison Afful scored his second goal of the MLS regular season in the 61st minute of tonight’s match against New York City FC. The goal came when Afful volleyed a deflection from outside the 18-yard box into the back of the net. Ghanaian defender has appeared in 26 MLS regular-season matches (all starts) for Crew SC this season. Since joining the club in 2015, Afful has made 89 appearances (86 starts) in the regular season, scored five goals and recorded six assists.
- Pedro Santos recorded the game-winning assist in tonight’s match against New York City FC. The assist came on Justin Meram’s 63rd-minute goal as Santos sent a cross into the box that Meram sent past Sean Johnson. This season, Santos has scored one goal and provided six assists in 23 regular-season appearances (all starts). Since joining the club in 2017, Santos has made 32 regular-season appearances (31 starts), registering one goal and eight assists for the Black & Gold.
- Wil Trapp made his 150th MLS regular-season appearance in tonight’s match against New York City FC. He made 58 touches, attempted 49 passes and created a scoring chance. In 2018, Trapp has made 23 regular-season appearances (23 starts), scoring one goal and providing one assist. Since making his MLS debut in 2013, he has made 147 MLS regular-season starts, scoring two goals and providing 15 assists.
- With three saves in tonight’s match against New York City FC, goalkeeper Zack Steffen has now tallied more than 150 saves in MLS. Steffen recorded the win tonight, his 10th of the season, to go along with eight clean sheets. Since making his MLS debut in 2017, the keeper has made 56 MLS regular-season appearances (all starts), recording 51 saves, 26 wins and 17 shutouts.
- Through 14 home matches in the 2018 MLS regular season, Crew SC has managed to score 29 goals when playing at MAPFRE Stadium. Overall, the Black & Gold have compiled a winning regular-season home record of 9-2-3, outscoring opponents 29-17. Last year, Crew SC scored 34 goals regular-season goals at home, conceding 17. Of Crew SC’s 29 goals at home this regular-season, 13 have been scored by forward Gyasi Zardes, who is currently in third place in the MLS Golden Boot race, with 15 strikes to his name. In addition, the Black & Gold are now 12-1-3 this season when recording at least one goal in the match
- With tonight’s 2-1 win over New York City FC, Crew SC improves its record on the season to 12-8-7. Next up, Crew SC will take on FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET.