Crew SC end season with 2-2 draw at NYCFC, kick off playoffs at Atlanta Thursday

Columbus Crew SC came away with a 2-2 draw at Citi Field against New York City FC on Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, presented by AT&T. Columbus was powered by goals from forward Ola Kamara and defender Josh Williams that offset a brace by NYCFC forward David Villa.

With Sunday’s match marking the end of the regular season, the Black & Gold will have a chance to #ClaimGlory when they begin play in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs against Atlanta United FC on the road in the upcoming mid-week Knockout Round.

Kamara found pay dirt in the 11th minute and put Crew SC ahead 1-0. The forward received a floated ball from midfielder Federico Higuain and sent the ball into the net near the right post with his left foot. The goal was the 18th of Kamara’s career-high season and the 34th in his career with Crew SC.

New York City equalized in the 18th minute off a Villa header. Villa received a corner kick from midfielder Maximiliano Moralez and brought the score level at 1-1.

Villa struck again in the 45th minute to put NYCFC ahead 2-1. The forward dribbled on the left side of the field before gathering and striking a ball that would find the net after ricocheting off the hands of Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

The score was brought back level in the 58th minute on a header by Williams. The defender gained superior position over New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson and sent home his third goal in four matches. His three goals this season tie a career high for the veteran. Higuain provided the corner-kick assist, bringing his season total to 14 helpers and his career total to 49.

Crew SC held serve during stoppage time when Steffen deflected and saved a penalty kick attempt by Villa that would have given New York City the victory. Steffen tied a career high for saves in a match on Sunday with seven.

Columbus was on its toes defensively in the match and won more duels (50-49) and tackles (17-12) than their adversaries in New York City.

The Black & Gold preserved their unbeaten streak, extending it to 10. Columbus (16-12-6, 54 points) finished the regular season in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings while New York City (16-9-9, 57 points) finished second.

Columbus Crew SC is set to open the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. ET by traveling to face Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

As announced by Major League Soccer, the match is set to be televised nationally on Unimas and ESPN 2. The match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English and on La Mega 103.1 FM in Spanish.

Should Crew SC defeat Atlanta United FC at Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Thursday, the Black & Gold would advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Winners of the Knockout Round advance to the two-legged, aggregate-goal series Conference Semifinals.

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