COLUMBUS , OH – Columbus Crew SC were unbeaten at Mapfre Stadium in 2017 and had never lost to NYCFC on home soil going into this Saturday night showdown.
With an average of 4.6 goals being scored per game in the history of this rivalry, it was never going to be a goalless bore draw and Jack Harrison certainly made sure of that just seven minutes in.
The ball inside the Crew full-back from Maxi Moralez was gorgeous and the finish from Jack was even better as the Englishman chipped sublimely over the onrushing Zack Steffen.
Head Coach Patrick Vieira had spoken of the importance of giving fans a reaction to the disappointing defeat to Orlando City last time out and, on the early evidence, that message had clearly gotten through to the boys in blue.
“It was a big result for us,” he said. “I think we had a really good game plan, and coming in here against a really good side and managing to go back to New York with three points is really big for us.”
However, despite the early notch, NYCFC were soaking up more opposition possession than they’ve been used to in recent weeks and they were indebted to goalkeeper Sean Johnson for keeping their noses in front on 23’ when he made a fine double save.
Ethan White was next to come to his side’s rescue a couple of minutes later when he recovered to produce an outstanding last ditch tackle when the dangerous Justin Meram was baring down on goal and ready to pull the trigger.
Eventually, the Columbus pressure did tell, and home side levelled through Federico Higuain’s stunning volley which left the goalkeeper with no chance.
Chances for Vieira’s men to double their tally were few and far between in the remaining minutes of the half but Sean Okoli did advertise his threat with a towering header from a Harrison cross which flew inches past the post.
Following a strong end to the first half, NYCFC found themselves behind for the first time five minutes into the second period as Kamara pounced upon a trip from Alexander Callens and swept past Johnson.
Chasing the game, the boys in blue put up another strong response to a concession and began asserting sustained pressure on the Columbus goal which eventually garnered the game-tieing goal from Herrera.