CLB 2 – 0 NY – Eeastern Conference Final Recap

Columbus Crew Justin Meram, left, celebrates with Kei Kamara after Meram scored a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the New York Red Bulls, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) ORG XMIT: NJBK101 Image: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

CLB2v0NY

Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls – Game Recap

All was set last night for the first leg of Major League Soccer’s Conference Finals, where the first game kicked off with MLS East contenders Columbus Crew SC hosting New York Red Bulls.

A lot has been discussed prior to this match about the strategies of both teams, who will try to stick to their unique gameplay and counter the other side’s efforts on both defense and attack.

Although at some stages of the game it seemed as if the score can go either way, as both sides tried to create momentum and chances.  Still, there was a very clear advantage for most of the match, which was clearly Columbus’s.

It started no earlier than 11 seconds into the match, with Kei Kamara sending a header into the box, to be tapped by Ethan Finlay who was blocked by the Red Bulls’ defense.

The ball went Justin Meram’s way, who scored the first point for Columbus Crew 11 seconds into the game – the fastest goal in the history of the MLS Cup playoffs.

Columbus Crew SC 1 – 0 New York Red Bulls

The visitors did respond with well-coordinated attacks in the first ten minutes of the first half, but did not manage to create real opportunities.

Similar to their previous MLS Playoff games against Montreal Impact, where the Crew shut down Didier Drogba, this time around it was Red Bulls’ Bradley Write-Phillip’s turn to be blocked by the Columbus defense.

The Crew seemed aligned and determined to mark Phillips, and pretty much closed down on him whenever he got close to the ball.

Both teams went back and forth, creating some opportunities, but not really capitalizing on any of the chances.

Things did change towards stoppage time, when Columbus Substitute Cedrick Mabwati that came in for Ethan Finlay (80’) received a ball from the right and from the upper-right corner of New York’s box skilfully passed Red Bulls’ Dax McCarty and Gonzalo Veron on his way to goal.

New York’s keeper Luis Robles managed to block the shot from close range, but the ball went straight to Kai Kamara who tapped it into to an open goal (85’).

Columbus Crew SC 2 – 0 New York Red Bulls

At the end, it seems as if Columbus Crew just wanted to win more than the New York Red Bulls.  Also notably for their contribution were Crew’s Federico Higuain who created many plays from midfield, and Will Trapp that did a lot of work off the ball.

New York Red Bulls have never beaten Columbus Crew in the MLS finals, and that did not change tonight.

As Columbus take now a two-goal lead into the Red Bull Arena; the Red Bulls will have a challenge on the second leg of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference Championships, as they will need to score at least 3 goals to win on aggregate.

The two teams are meeting at New York Red Bulls for the second leg next Sunday, November 29th, 7:30 p.m. ET.