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Late Goal Leaves Crew and Red Bulls in Deadlock

photo by Matt Kremkau

HARRISON, NJ - In a match that was expected to be a high-octane offensive display was bogged down to two teams taking full advantage of very uncharismatic mistakes down the stretch as the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew SC battled to a sloppy yet dramatic 1-1 draw that was decided on Darlington Nagbe's equalizer in the 95th minute. 

The New York Red Bulls were looking for three points at home after being held scoreless by Dayne St. Clair and Minnesota United, 1-0 in the home opener last week. Meanwhile, the Crew wanted to extend their unbeaten streak to four matches after dispatching Toronto FC, 4-1 in Columbus. 

Other than a shot by US international Aaron Long that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, there was not much to report in the first half, but the second half of the match was punctuated with some missed chances by both sides and players simply not on the same page as the match began to open up. 

Chief among those missed chances was Gyasi Zardes's opportunity in the 65th minute was the type of scoring chance the US international has finished countless times, and somehow the Designated Player inexplicably poked his shot wide.

Columbus Crew's one chance to put the game away happened in the 78th minute. Midfielder and former Red Bull Derrick Ettienne Jr. picked up the ball and went on break with only goalkeeper Carlos Coronel to beat. But fortunately for Coronel and the Red Bulls, his chance to score went begging as he hesitated and his shot went wide, and his follow-up zipped untouched across the mouth of the goal to the relief of the home supporters.

The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 84th minute when a corner from midfielder Lewis Morgan found the head of defender Aaron Long and his goal attempt hit off the Columbus goalkeeper Eloy Room who wildly swung at the ball, which looped over his head, bouncing off an oblivious Tom Barlow and lastly touching the keeper on its way into the net.

But the Crew would make up for that mistake deep into extra time after defender Steven Moreira played a low-driven cross that found the feet of Darlington Nagbe, who was unmarked during the play. His initial attempt was stopped by Coronel, but the ball was loose in the box, and he was able to tap it in to tie the match, ending it in a disappointing draw in front of the supporter who thought a win was in their grasp.

The Red Bulls head into the FIFA International Break with seven points after four matches played. Clearly, there is a lot that this young side needs to do before they can truly challenge the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. One thing on that list is how they can channel that offense where it can be more potent to become a force to be reckoned with as the season drags on. The good news is that time is on the side of the team from Harrison, time that will be wisely put to good use during the break.

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