LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – The Columbus Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 Thursday night at the MLS is Back Tournament with goals by Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan, advancing the Crew to the knockout stage.
Zardes scored in the 22nd minute on a throw in from Pedro Santos. Zelrayan added the second point right after the half with a perfectly placed blast off of a nice pass from Derrick Etienne Jr. in the 47th minute.
The Crew also had other shots at scores, including on the half-hour mark when Zardes got free on a breakaway and dished off to Etienne ,who had a chance on an open goal, only to put it into the side netting.
Later, Red Bulls goalkeeper David Jensen made a lunging left-handed save of Santos, pushing the ball just enough to send it off the post and out.
The Crew held the possession advantage in the first half with 61%, but didn’t see the ball a ton as the second half moved on. The Red Bulls had time on the Crew’s side, but lacked the talent to get through the Columbus defense to make a difference.
The Crew lead Group E with a 2-0-0 record (6 points). The Red Bulls and Cincinnati are 1-1-0 (3 points). Atlanta United has lost both games.
Youness Mokhtar nearly made it 3-0 with a highlight-reel effort in the 76th minute, dribbling at the top of the box to find space and chipping a shot that cleared Jensen but was denied by the crossbar.
Group E play will be completed when the Crew play Atlanta United on Tuesday and the Red Bulls meet Cincinnati on Wednesday.