MLS Cup Playoffs: Columbus Crew SC 2-0 New York Red Bulls


The game in 100 words (or less): After 90 minutes of the Eastern Conference finals, Columbus Crew SC holds a commanding 2-0 lead over the New York Red Bulls following their first-leg victory at MAPFRE Stadium Sunday night. Justin Meram gave Crew SC an early lead with the fastest goal in MLS Cup Playoffs history and Kei Kamara doubled the lead in the 85th minute, his 25th goal of 2015 (regular season and playoffs combined). Thanks to the early goal for the home side, the Red Bulls chased the game much more than they otherwise would have done, which provided biased and unbiased spectators unlike with a highly entertaining, end-to-end game. The second leg will be played next Sunday at Red Bull Arena, where a Crew SC away goal would means the Red Bulls need four goals to advance to and host MLS Cup 2015.

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Three moments that mattered

1′ — Meram’s record-breaking goal makes it 1-0 — Nine seconds on the clock, and Crew SC were already ahead. Michael Parkhurst hit the long ball over the top to Kei Kamara, who headed it into the path of Ethan Finlay, who somehow — perhaps unintentionally — got the ball to Meram.

44′ — Robles at full-stretch to deny Meram — Your 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, ladies and gentlemen. Justin Meram had himself a night, and would have had his second goal of the game with this beauty of a curler for the far post, if not for Robles going full-stretch to deny the Iraqi international.

85′ — Cedrick dances past three defenders, Kamara makes it 2-0 — Cedrick Mabwait, why you gotta do Dax McCarty, Gonzalo Veron and Felipe like that? The Congolese winger danced past all three Red Bulls midfielders, ripped a shot on goal, which was saved but not held by Robles, and Kamara was there to clean up the mess and slot the ball into an empty net.

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Man of the match: Justin Meram

Goalscorers: Meram (1′), Kamara (85′)