An impressive equalizing goal from Harrison Afful was not enough for Columbus Crew SC (11-6-5, 38 pts.) as Orlando City SC (11-3-8, 41 pts.) took over third place in the Eastern Conference following a 2-1 win at Exploria Stadium.
Following Sunday's upcoming Decision Day finale vs. Atlanta United, Columbus will finish the regular season and enter the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs winless on the road.
Orlando City have not dropped a game at Exploria Stadium and Chris Mueller got things started for the Lions after recording his 10th goal of the season in the 27th minute.
Eloy Room, who came off a season-high eight saves on Sunday, recorded two saves in the first half against Orlando, both coming in quick succession as part of a spectacular double-save to keep it a one-goal game before halftime.
Orlando went down to 10 men in the 52nd minute following a reckless tackle by Orlando's Nani that resulted in a straight red card after Video Review.
In the 56th minute, Afful found his way inside the center of the box and did well to put his head over the ball and connect fully on the laces to bury the equalizing goal in stunning fashion.
The goal marked Afful's first since the 2018 season, as he increased his total to six with Crew SC since joining the Club in 2015.
In the 84th, second-half substitute Benji Michel scored his fifth of the season as the Homegrown Player helped Orlando jump over Columbus in the Eastern Conference standings and into a third-place position heading into Decision Day on Sunday.
A win for Columbus on Sunday vs. Atlanta United at home plus some outside help could still see the Black & Gold secure a No. 3 seed going into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Kickoff on Sunday is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium, with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. on SportsTime Ohio.
By Crew SC Communications
- Defender Harrison Afful scored his first goal of the 2020 regular-season during tonight’s road match at Orlando City SC. Afful’s goal came in the 56th minute from just inside the box off a Pedro Santos pass. The defender’s goal tonight was his first goal in regular-season action since a 2018 home match against New York City FC (September 1), as well as his sixth regular-season tally since joining Crew SC in 2015.
- Midfielder Pedro Santos provided the assist on Harrison Afful’s 56th-minute goal during tonight’s match. With the helper, Santos brought his 2020 regular-season total to eight assists in 21 regular-season appearances. Notably, this is the most assists the Portuguese midfielder has provided in a single regular season since joining the Crew in 2017.
- Defender Jonathan Mensah made six clearances, two interceptions and one block during tonight’s match road contest against at Orlando City SC. The Ghanaian defender played the entire 90 minutes, continuing his streak of having played every minute of Crew SC’s 2020 regular-season campaign.
- Up next for Crew SC, the team concludes the regular season at home against Atlanta United Sunday, November 8 [3:30 p.m. ET / SportsTime Ohio, FOX Sports GO App / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].