The Columbus Crew ends NYCFC's winning streak as the Pigeons fall 3-2

  • NYCFC and the Columbus Crew played one another on Friday evening
  • The Pigeons fell 3-2 after going down a man late in the first half
Mitja Ilenič of NYCFC
Mitja Ilenič of NYCFC / Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, New York City FC welcomed the Columbus Crew to Yankee Stadium.  However, the game did not start on time due to storms that went through the city.  Pouring rain and lightning was how the night began, but thankfully the teams were able to play.

Meanwhile, after being the hat trick hero in the previous match, Alonso Martínez started the match as the striker.  Injuries and precaution saw Thiago Martins and Kevin O’Toole out against the Crew, but O’Toole might have been held out with Wednesday’s game on Nick Cushing’s mind.  The left-back was deemed healthy for Friday.

Nonetheless, the rain did not scare all of the fans away.  It was a decent crowd for after a storm. The supporters knew they had to cheer on their team.  Columbus had a slight edge over NYCFC, for they had one more win compared to the Pigeons entering the game.  Hence, everyone knew it was going to be difficult for the Bronx team to try and win their sixth match in a row.

Unfortunately, NYCFC fell to the Columbus Crew, 3-2. This ended their quest for six straight wins and the joy felt over the last couple of months.

NYCFC loses 3-2 as the winning streak comes to an end

The game started slowly for NYCFC where they took a little bit of time to get into the match.  They struggled on the offensive end and there were issues with the backline.  Thankfully, Matt Freese was there to save everybody, for he had five saves in the first 27 minutes alone.  In fact, he ended the first half with eight saves.

However, Mitja Ilenič was struggling on the right side.  He allowed numerous Crew players to get around him, with frustration in his performances growing.  This led to him fouling in the 39th minute where he stopped Christian Ramírez on a goal-scoring opportunity play.  With no contact on the ball, the right-back was given the red card and sent off.

Yet, NYCFC was not ready to back down and play to survive.  Instead, they took their chances on counter-attacks.  This led to the Pigeons going in front 1-0 in the 44th minute.  Agustín Ojeda scored the goal after a brilliant backheel pass by Martínez, who was ahead of his teammate.  Ojeda repositioned himself in the box to take his shot, sending the ball into the right side of the goal.  This was a much-needed goal, but fans wondered whether their team could hold on and compete down a man.

Sadly, the answer was no, for Ramírez tied the game for Columbus at the beginning of the second half.  He was onside with the NYCFC backline and tapped it in past Freese.  The 48th-minute goal was not the last one for the Crew, for they scored five minutes later thanks to Mohamed Farsi.  Freese could not get a hand on the ball and the Canadian player capitalized on his chance.  Both goals saw the backline falter, leaving their goalkeeper without any protection.

Things continued to worsen for NYCFC, for after a VAR review, a penalty kick was given to the Crew after a weak foul call on Hannes Wolf.  He was called for a push, but arguably Farsi knew he was coming and went down easily.  Nevertheless, Cucho Hernández scored the Crew’s third goal, putting the Pigeons into a locked cage.

This was not the ideal result. They had a chance in the first half, especially with how great Freese was.  However, losing Ilenič hurt them in the end.  Changing their backline did not help either, for they went to five at the back by putting James Sands as the third center-back and moving Hannes Wolf to a left wing-back position.  Columbus recognized their weakness and they pounced on the opportunity

That is not to say they did not try.  There were chances in the second half, where Santiago Rodríguez pulled one back for the team in the 86th minute. Then, Santiago Rodríguez pulled one back for the team in the 86th minute. They continued to fight, even into the 14 minutes of stoppage time. Alas, they could not find a third. At the very least, Christian McFarlane made his debut for the first team and in Major League Soccer.  This was something many wanted for months.

Nobody wanted the winning streak to end at home, but sometimes games like these happen. Still, fans will have many questions with a big game in California against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.  Will NYCFC be able to bounce back, or will they go through a difficult period again?  Were the last two months a glitch in the system, and the Pigeons are more like the earlier part of the season?  Truthfully, fans would need to hold off on that idea, but only time will tell the whole story.