Gyasi Zardes came out with a vengeance and Luis Diaz added the insurance tally with his first career Major League Soccer goal as the Columbus Crew deflated a 30,000+ filled Nippert Stadium with an emphatic 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati on Sunday, Aug. 25.
The Crew (8-15-6, 30 pts.) fired eight shots in the first 45 minutes, five of which fell on-frame while three reached the back of the net. The opener came courtesy of Zardes, though the set-up ball was just as impressive as Zardes' left-footed, cross-goal finish. As for the delivery, streaking down the left flank with pace was Diaz, who curled in a right-footed ball into the lap of Zardes as he ended his finishing slump with his 10th goal of the season in the 22nd minute.
Just over 10 minutes later, Zardes doubled down to quickly evaporate any potential rebound momentum for FC Cincinnati with his second of the match in the 33rd minute. This time, Harrison Afful delivered a perfectly weighted right-footed curler from, again, the right flank to an in-stride Zardes, who made it goal number 11 for the Crew's No. 9.
As the game appeared to be heading towards a 2-0 scoreline after the first 45, Diaz had to deliver his input with his first career MLS goal after joining the Crew during the summer transfer window. The 20-year-old Costa Rican received the ball from 45 yards out, and with an ensuing full sprint towards the near post, Diaz launched a rocket in between the near post and the goalkeeper to leave an emphatic first-half statement in front of the visitor's supporters' section.
Much of the offensive steam disappeared in the second half, though the Crew did have quality opportunities that could have very well materialized into fourth and fifth goals. As for FCC, the expansion side held a majority of possession in the second half and managed a couple of quality moments on-frame, two of which were denied by Eloy Room, such as this...
...though FCC's Kekuta Manneh managed to pull one back in the 89th minute to deny a Crew shutout.
Up next, Crew SC returns home to host the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium as part of Alumni Night. Supporters can watch Saturday's match on FOX Sports Ohio or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).
Columbus Crew SC
Gyasi Zardes recorded a brace during tonight’s 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati. Zardes’ first goal came in the 22nd minute, when he put away a cross from Luis Diaz. The forward struck again 11 minutes later, this time finishing off across from Harrison Afful. With the brace in tonight’s match, Zardes brought his 2019 regular-season tally to 11 goals in 23 appearances (all starts). Notably, this marks the third time that Zardes has scored 10 or more goals in a single regular season, as he had previously tallied 16 strikes in 2016 and 19 goals in 2018. Tonight’s goal was also Zardes’ 29th goal in 56 regular-season appearances (all starts) since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2018 MLS season.
Luis Diaz scored his first career Crew SC goal in tonight’s 3-1 victory over FC Cincinnati. The midfielder’s goal came in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, when he sped down the right flank and fired a shot past Przemyslaw Tyton after receiving a through ball from Pedro Santos. In addition to scoring a goal, Diaz also registered the assist on Gyasi Zardes’ first goal during tonight’s match. The helper came in the 22nd minute, when Diaz sent in a cross from the right flank to Zardes, who sent the ball to the back of the net. Notably, the assist was Diaz’s third helper in eight regular-season appearances (four starts) for Crew SC since joining the Black & Gold on July 2, 2019.
Harrison Afful registered his second assist of the 2019 regular season during tonight’s match, as he provided the helper on Gyasi Zardes’ second goal of the night. Afful’s assist came in the 33rd minute of the match, as he whipped in across from the right flank which Zardes finished off inside the box. Since joining Crew SC in 2015, Afful has made 112 regular-season appearances (109 starts), recording five goals and 14 assists.
Pedro Santos notched two assists during tonight’s match, as he provided a secondary assist on Gyasi Zardes’ first goal before setting up Luis Diaz's goal. Santos’s first assist came in the first minute of first half stoppage, when he combined with Luis Diaz to set up Zardes’ 22nd-minute goal. His second assist came in the first minute of second-half stoppage, when he sent a through ball to Diaz. In 2019, Santos has made 28 regular-season appearances (25 starts), registering nine goals and five assists.
Next up, Crew SC hosts the Chicago Fire in a home contest at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, August 31 (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO / 97.1 The Fan and streaming online via the “Listen Live” button at 971TheFan.com / Spanish audio on ColumbusCrewSC.com).