Columbus Crew SC (3-1-1, 10 pts.) defeated the defending MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United FC (0-2-2, 2 pts) 2-0 in a rainy matchup on Saturday, March 30 at MAPFRE Stadium.
Crew SC took an early lead when Pedro Santos finished a deflection in the box in the second minute of play. The goal marked his first of the season and, notably, Santos has either scored or delivered the game-winning play in each of Crew SC's home wins.
On the defensive side, goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a diving save in the 22nd minute to keep the clean sheet, his third of the season and 22nd of his career.
In the 31st minute, the game was delayed due to inclimate weather. After a 40-minute delay, play resumed and eight minutes later Gyasi Zardes placed the ball in the back of the net from a slotted pass by Robinho.
In the 57th minute of play, Zardes was tripped in the box by Atlanta United's Miles Robinson, though Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan blocked the penalty kick taken by Federico Higuain. Steffen prevented Atlanta's final scoring opportunity in the 85th minute by stepping off of his line and blocking Brek Shea's shot.
Up next, Columbus continues its homestand against the New England Revolution on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium.
Supporters can watch the match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on ESPN 1460 AM Columbus or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
CLB – Pedro Santos, 2nd minute: Santos slips the ball to the far post off of a deflection from a cross by Artur. CLB 1, ATL 0
CLB – Gyasi Zardes (Robinho), 39th minute: Zardes places the ball to the near post from the middle of the box from a slotted ball by Robinho. CLB 2, ATL 0 | FINAL
Columbus Crew SC
- Midfielder Pedro Santos recorded the game-winning goal – as well as his first goal of the 2019 regular season – in tonight’s 2-0 win over Atlanta United. Santos’ goal came in the second minute of the contest, as he pounced in a loose ball to make it 1-0 in favor of Crew SC. This was Santos’ first goal since March 24, 2018, when he scored in a road contest against D.C United. In addition to his goal, Santos registered 51 touches on the ball. Notably, Santos has provided either the game-winning goal or the game-winning assist in each match the Crew has won during the 2019 regular season.
- Forward Gyasi Zardes scored Crew SC’s second goal in tonight’s 2-0 victory over Atlanta United. Zardes scored in the 39th minute, when he received a low cross from Robinho which he then sent to the back of the net. With the strike in tonight’s match. Zardes brought his 2019 regular-season total to three goals, as he had previously registered a brace in Crew SC’s 2-0 road victory over the New England Revolution (March 9).
- Midfielder Federico Higuain registered his second assist of the 2019 regular season in tonight’s 2-0 victory over Atlanta United. Higuain’s helper came in the 39th minute, when he played a ball to Robinho, who then set up Gyasi Zardes to score Crew SC’s second goal of the evening. In addition to tallying his second assist of the season, the helper marked Higuain’s 60th regular-season assist since joining the Black & Gold in 2012. Higuain is in second place on the Crew’s list of all-time regular-season assist leaders and now needs only two more helpers to overtake Robert Warzycha as the all-time leader.
- Robinho recorded his first regular-season assist for the Black & Gold during tonight’s contest against Atlanta United. The Brazilian found Gyasi Zardes in the 39th minute of the contest, crossing the ball to Zardes after receiving a through ball from Federico Higuain. Since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2019 season, Robinho has made five regular-season appearances (three starts).
- Zack Steffen recorded his third consecutive regular-season shutout during tonight’s win over Atlanta United. The goalkeeper made five saves against Atlanta en route to helping Crew SC earn its second consecutive home win. With his clean sheet in tonight’s match, Steffen brought his all-time regular-season total to 22 matches, tying with Steve Clark for third on Crew SC’s list of all-time regular-season shutout leaders behind only William Hesmer (41) and Jon Busch (25).
- With his start in tonight’s contest, Harrison Afful recorded his 100th regular-season appearance for Crew SC (97th start). Notably, Afful is one of six playerson the Crew’s current roster to have made 100 or more regular-season appearances, behind only Justin Meram (200), Federico Higuain (183), Will Trapp (160), Josh Williams (114) and Hector Jimenez (105). Afful joined the Black & Gold in 2015 and has scored five goals and provided 12 assists in regular-season action over that span.
- Defender Josh Williams made his first regular-season start, as well as his 2019 regular-season debut in tonight’s home contest against Atlanta United. During the match, Williams played the entire 90 minutes, making two tackles, registering 33 touches on the ball and attempting 23 passes. Tonight’s start was the first for Williams since starting in and playing all 90 minutes in a home contest against Minnesota United FC (October 28).
- Crew SC is undefeated at MAPFRE Stadium across all competitions dating back to June 13 of last year. Over that span, the Black & Gold have posted a winning record of 9-0-2 at home while outscoring opponents 18-8.
- With the 2-0 win against Atlanta United in tonight’s match, Crew SC’s 2019 regular-season record is now 3-1-1 (10 points). Next up, Crew SC has a home contest against the New England Revolution at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, April 6 (7:30 p.m. ET / Fox Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO / 1460 ESPN Columbus and streaming online via the “Listen Live” button at 971TheFan.com / Spanish audio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).