*NOTE: This editorial was provided by MLSsoccer.com and edited by ColumbusCrewSC.com
The Columbus Crew (8-1-3, 27 pts.) maintained their status atop the Eastern Conference with another win, extending their lead to seven points with a 2-0 win against Nashville SC (3-5-3, 12 pts.) on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium.
Additionally, the Crew stands five points clear of Orlando City SC and Toronto FC in the Supporters' Shield race.
Saturday's win marked the first five-match home shutout streak in Club history, as the Black & Gold became just the second team in League history to record five shutouts in each of their first five home matches.
After a scoreless first half, the offensive breakthrough came quickly in the second half as Columbus went up 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Pedro Santos in the 50th minute.
Gyasi Zardes made a run from the left side and passed to Santos on the edge of the penalty area, and from there, Santos buried it into the upper left corner.
The Crew goal awakened Nashville in the second half, as the expansion side picked up the intensity for most of the final 45 minutes and eventually responded with their first shot on target in the 61st minute.
Alex Muyl made a run from the right side and shot from close range, but Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room was able to make the game's first save. Nashville's pace in the second half, though, never quite paid off in genuine opportunities. The second half played out much like the first with both teams recording a lot of shots but few shots on target.
Nashville's Walker Zimmerman came up with his side's best chance in the final minutes of the match, but Room made the save and the match ended in the Crew's favor as they closed the match off with a goal in stoppage time.
Artur found Zardes near the goal line, who atoned for his previous miss and scored with some cheeky footwork right in front of goal.
The goal marked the 75th career regular-season goal for Zardes, who now stands solely in second-place in the League's Golden Boot race with nine goals.
Up next, Columbus hosts Minnesota United FC on Wednesday, Sept. 23 in a rematch of the MLS is Back Tournament quarterfinal match in which Minnesota advanced in a shootout.
By Crew SC Communications
- Forward Gyasi Zardes registered a goal and an assist in tonight’s home match against Nashville SC. Zardes provided the helper on Pedro Santos' 50th-minute game-winning strike before scoring a goal of his own in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. The assist was Zardes' third helper of the 2020 regular season, the most in a year by the forward since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2018 season. Additionally, Zardes’ goal took his tally to nine goals in 12 regular-season appearances (11 starts) this season. Notably
- Midfielder Pedro Santos scored the game-winning goal in the 50th minute of tonight’s match against Nashville SC. Santos’ second regular-season goal of the 2020 campaign was assisted by forward Gyasi Zardes. Notably, the goal was Santos’ second game-winning tally of the 2020 MLS regular season. In 2020, Santos has made 11 regular-season appearances (all starts), scoring two goals and providing five assists.
- With the result in tonight’s match at home against Nashville SC, goalkeeper Eloy Room recorded his seventh shutout of the regular season. Room had previously recorded clean sheets against New York City FC (March 1), FC Cincinnati (July 11), New York Red Bulls (July 16), against Philadelphia Union (September 2) and against FC Cincinnati (August 29, September 6).
- Tonight’s shutout against Nashville SC made Crew SC the second team in MLS regular-season history to register five clean sheets in its first five home matches. Previously, only the New England Revolution team from 2005 had accomplished this feat.
- Crew SC's home match on Saturday against Nashville SC was the first regular-season meeting between the two sides. With the 2-0 victory, the Crew improved its all-time record in its initial regular-season match against expansion clubs to 9-4-5.
- Crew SC is undefeated in its last 10 regular-season matches at MAPFRE Stadium, with a record of 7-0-3. The streak dates back to a 2-1 victory last year over the Montreal Impact (July 20). Additionally, the Crew has won all of five of its regular-season matches at MAPFRE Stadium this year, posting a record of 5-0-0.
- In addition to its 10-match undefeated streak at home, the Black & Gold have only lost three matches - home or away - in their last 25 regular-season contests. This streak began with a 2-2 draw on the road last year against Chicago Fire FC (July 17), with the Crew posting a winning record of 13-3-9 over that span.
- Up next for Crew SC, the team hosts Minnesota United FC at MAPFRE Stadium on day, September 23 [7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO App / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].