Cedrick Mabwati

AP Photo/Steven Senne

MLS Snapshot: Crew SC 1-1 Rapids; NE Revs 2-0 Fire (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): The post-Kei Kamara era is underway in Columbus after Crew SC traded their scorer of 22 goals and arguer of penalty kick-taking duties this week. Without last year’s talisman, it was mostly more of the same from a disappointing Crew SC side that lacked the kind of pace and vigor that typified their run to MLS Cup 2015. The Colorado Rapids, meanwhile, came into Saturday night’s trip to MAPFRE Stadium having already played this week, thus more than happy to settle for an away point and extend their unbeaten run to seven games (six since the debut of Jermaine Jones). As such, the Rapids will finish the weekend right where they started — top of the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield race.

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Three Two moments that mattered

23′ — Mabwati blasts off to make it 1-0 — Harrison Afful did unbelievably well (especially for a full back) to remain composed, cut back to the inside and pick out the streaking Mabwati. The finish was no piece of cake, either.

55′ — Doyle heads home from Gashi’s corner kick — Crew SC have been the worst set-piece-defending side in MLS for going on three seasons now. They remain unfazed by their dubious designation.

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Man of the match: Shkelzen Gashi

Goalscorers: Mabwati (23′), Doyle (55′)

The game in 100 words (or less): The New England Revolution’s Kamara era got underway Saturday night as well, and it’s all positives on first return with the Revs knocking off the bottom-of-the-league Chicago Fire (7 points from nine games), 2-0 at Gillette Stadium. Kamara went straight into Jay Heaps’ starting lineup and was his typically active self on the night (six shots, four on target), though he failed to find the back of the net. Lee Nguyen and Femi Hollinger-Janzen took care of that, though, as the Revs broke their six-game winless skid with relative ease. The victory boosts the Revs (13 points from 12 games) up to sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of Orlando City SC (who have three games in hand at this point. The Fire, meanwhile, remain rooted to 10th in the East and 20th in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ MORE: Previewing the weekend in MLS ]

Three moments that mattered

22′ — Nguyen curls home to cap a set-piece routine — Note to opposition defenders: always know where Nguyen is. Or else…

52′ — Kamara’s header headed off (over?) the line — It’s impossible to tell from this angle, but Brandon Vincent looks to be inside the goal when he heads this ball back out, right?

84′ — Hollinger-Janzen heads home for 2-0 — Juan Agudelo chipped it to the back post, where Femi was waiting to apply the easy finish.

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Man of the match: Lee Nguyen

Goalscorers: Nguyen (22′), Hollinger-Janzen (84′)

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

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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.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS weekend ]

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′)