Harrison Afful - 11.4.18 - RBNY

MATCH NOTES | #RBNYvCLB - November 11, 2018

GYASI ZARDES SCORES GAME-WINNING GOAL AGAINST THE NEW YORK RED BULLS

Gyasi Zardes scored the game-winning goal in Sunday’s Eastern Conference Semifinals Leg 1 match against the New York Red Bulls. The goal came in the 61st minute, as the forward received a back-heel pass from Federico Higuain and sent the ball past Red Bulls’ goalkeeper Luis Robles. The goal was Zardes’ first MLS postseason goal since October 28, 2015 – when he scored for the LA Galaxy against Seattle Sounders FC in a Western Conference Knockout Round match – and the strike also marked his first MLS Cup Playoffs goal for the Crew SC. The match was also Zardes’ 10th all-time appearance (10th start) in MLS Cup Playoffs action. During the 2018 MLS regular season, Zardes made 33 appearances (all starts) and scored a team-high 19 goals.

FEDERICO HIGUAIN PROVIDES GAME-WINNING ASSIST AGAINST THE NEW YORK RED BULLS

Midfielder Federico Higuain provided the game-winning assist in Sunday’s home match against the New York Red Bulls. The helper came on Gyasi Zardes’ 61st-minute goal, when the Argentine midfielder received a pass from Milton Valenzuela and relayed the ball with a back-heel pass to Zardes. Since joining the Black & Gold in 2012, Higuain has made 13 MLS Cup Playoffs appearances (all starts), scoring four goals to go with his five assists. During 2018 MLS regular season, Higuain made 30 regular-season appearances (27 starts) while scoring six goals and providing a team-high nine assists. In the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, Higuain has made two appearances (one start), scoring two goals and providing one assist.

HIGUAIN TIED FOR THIRD-MOST PLAYOFF ASSISTS IN CREW SC HISTORY

With his game-winning assist against the Red Bulls during Leg 1 of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, Federico Higuain brought his all-time MLS Cup Playoffs total to five helpers. Higuain’s five assists tie him with Jeff Cunningham, Ansil Elcock and Robert Warzycha for third-most assists in MLS Cup Playoffs action by a Crew SC player, behind only Guillermo Barros Schelotto (7) and Andy Williams (6).

MILTON VALENZUELA REGISTERS ASSIST AGAINST THE NEW YORK RED BULLS

Milton Valenzuela recorded a game-winning assist in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls. The helper came in the 61st-minute, when the Argentine played a through ball to Federico Higuain, who relayed the ball to Gyasi Zardes for the goal. The assist was Valenzuela’s first helper in MLS Cup Playoffs action. This was Valenzuela’s second playoffs appearance, having also started for Crew SC against D.C. United (November 1). During the 2018 MLS regular season, Valenzuela made 30 appearances (29 starts), tallying one goal and six assists.

ZACK STEFFEN REGISTERS SHUTOUT AGAINST THE NEW YORK RED BULLS

Zack Steffen made two saves during Leg 1 of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, en route to registering a shutout against the New York Red Bulls. The clean sheet was Steffen’s third in MLS Cup Playoffs action, as he previously recorded clean sheets during the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs against Atlanta United FC (October 26) and Toronto FC (November 21). Among Steffen’s saves was a diving stop in the third minute of second half stoppage time to preserve the shutout.

STEFFEN NAMED 2018 MLS ALLSTATE GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

On Tuesday, Major League Soccer announced that Zack Steffen had been voted the 2018 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year. Steffen, who made his Crew SC regular-season debut in 2017, is the second-youngest player in MLS history to be named Goalkeeper of the Year and only the second player in Black & Gold history to earn this prestigious League honor. In just his second year of MLS regular-season action, Steffen made history by setting a new Black & Gold club record for the longest shutout in regular-season action, maintaining a clean sheet for 525 minutes. Steffen’s 525-minute streak is also the eighth-longest regular-season shutout streak in MLS history. In August, Steffen went on to make a second-half appearance in goal in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game against Italian side Juventus, making three saves in match action, his first All-Star appearance.

ZARDES NAMED 2018 MLS COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

On Wednesday, Major League Soccer announced that forward Gyasi Zardes had been voted the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Zardes, who joined Crew SC ahead of the 2018 season, is the first player in Crew SC history to win the award. Zardes, 27, led Crew SC in 2018 by scoring a career-high 19 goals in regular-season action, more than any other American player in MLS. In addition to setting a new career-high in goals, Zardes’ 19 strikes moved him into third place on Crew SC’s list of most goals scored in a single MLS regular season, behind only Stern John (26 goals in 1998) and Kei Kamara (22 goals in 2015).

SIX CREW SC PLAYERS EARN INTERNATIONAL CALL-UPS

This week, six Crew SC players received international call-ups from their respective countries: Harrison Afful, Cristian Martinez, Jonathan Mensah, Justin Meram, Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp. Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah received call-ups from Ghana and are set to join the Black Stars ahead of a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying match against Ethiopia on November 18. Cristian Martinez earned a call-up from Panama and is slated to join Los Canaleros for international friendlies against Honduras on November 16 and against Ecuador on November 20. Justin Meram received a call-up from Iraq and is set to join the Lions of Mesopotamia for an international friendly against Bolivia on November 20. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen and midfielder Wil Trapp earned call-ups from the United States Men’s National Team and are slated to join the U.S. ahead of a friendly match against England at Wembley Stadium in London, England on November 15 and a friendly against Italy at Luminus Arena in Genk, Belgium on November 20. Crew SC’s current roster features seven players that have received a senior National Team call-up while with the club: Harrison Afful, Cristian Martinez, Jonathan Mensah, Justin Meram, Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes.

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