David Cath, ColumbusCrewSC.com
HARRISON, N.J. – Key saves and a bulldog-like approach offensively lifted Columbus Crew SC (10-7-6) to a 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls (13-6-2) on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
Defender Jonathan Mensah struck first in the seventh minute on a corner kick from Pedro Santos and a set-up tap from Patrick Mullins, who earned his first start with the Black & Gold on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen totaled four saves on the night, including a diving, one-handed effort to keep it a 1-0 margin.
Mullins eased the tension just 17 minutes after Crew SC’s first tally with a left-footed finish on the counter-attack. Harrison Afful delivered a perfectly weighted through ball off the pass from defender Milton Valenzuela as Mullins scored his first goal for the Black & Gold.
Seven minutes later, Santos delivered a curling ball into the box, with Josh Williams providing pressure before the Red Bulls’ Sean Davis ultimately knocked it in for an own goal.
The Red Bulls came back in the final 45 minutes, capitalizing on an own goal from Mensah in the 50th minute before making it a one-goal deficit in the 69th minute on a finish from Daniel Royer.
Columbus held on for the half’s remainder, including four minutes of stoppage time, to claim its first win at Red Bull Arena since 2014 and come within five points of the Red Bulls, who remain in third-place in the Eastern Conference standings with 41 points, followed by Crew SC with 36.
On the day, the Red Bulls outshot Crew SC 13-10 while maintaining 53 percent of the possession.
Up next, Steffen will compete in the 2018 MLS All-Star game on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Field in Atlanta, Ga., while the Club resumes regular-season play against the Houston Dynamo at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET as part of Columbus Zoo Night.
Patrick Mullins made his first regular-season start for Crew SC in tonight’s 3-2 road win over the New York Red Bulls, registering his first goal and his first assist with the club. In the seventh minute, Mullins assisted defender Jonathan Mensah as the Ghanaian put in Crew SC’s first goal of the night. The assist was his first since June 13, 2018. Then, in the 24th minute of tonight’s match, Mullins received a one-touch volley from Harrison Afful which he put past Red Bulls’ goalkeeper Luis Robles. The goal was Mullins’ first since a September 27, 2017 road match against Red Bulls that ended in a 3-3 tie. In addition, that match was the last time the Red Bulls have allowed three goals in their home stadium before tonight. Prior to joining Crew SC on July 11, 2018, Mullins had made 10 regular-season appearances (two starts) and recorded one assist for D.C. in the 2018 MLS regular-season. Since joining Crew SC, Mullins has made two regular-season appearances (one start), registering one goal and one assist.
Jonathan Mensah scored his first goal of the 2018 MLS regular season in tonight’s match against the New York Red Bulls. The Ghanaian defender scored in the seventh minute, when Patrick Mullins redirected a free kick by Pedro Santos’ free kick. The strike was the quickest goal Crew SC has scored this year in regular-season action, surpassing Federico Higuain’s 12th-minute goal against the Montreal Impact on March 10. Mensah’s last goal came on September 23, 2017, when he scored in a 3-2 home victory against the Red Bulls. Since making his MLS debut with Crew SC in 2017, Mensah has made 45 regular-season appearances (43 starts), tallying five goals and one assist.
Pedro Santos recorded an assist in tonight’s 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls. The helper came on Jonathan Mensah’s seventh-minute goal as the Portuguese midfielder sent a free kick into the box that Mensah drove into the back of the net, after Patrick Mullins redirected it with his head. This season, Santos has scored one goal and provided five assists in 19 regular-season appearance (all starts). Since joining the club in 2017, Santos has made 28 regular-season appearances (27 starts), registering one goal and seven assists for the Black & Gold. Notably, Crew SC boasts a record of 4-0-1 in regular-season matches in which Santos has provided an assist.
Harrison Afful recorded an assist in tonight’s match against the New York Red Bulls. The assist came on Patrick Mullins’ 24th-minute goal as the Ghanaian defender sent a one-touch volley to a charging Mullins who converted on the breakaway goal. The assist was Afful’s fourth helper of the year, and he has now provided an assist in back-to-back matches along with his helper in a home contest against Orlando City SC. With four assists, Afful now has his highest assist output in a single regular-season. Since joining Crew SC in 2015, Afful has made 85 regular-season appearances (82 starts), tallying four goals and 10 assists.
Milton Valenzuela recorded an assist in tonight’s match against the New York Red Bulls on Patrick Mullins’ 24th minute goal. With this helper, Valenzuela has now tallied three assists in 20 MLS regular-season appearances (19 starts). Valenzuela joined the Black & Gold this year as a Young Designated Player and has scored one goal to go with his three assists.
Crew SC’s road win against the New York Red Bulls means the Black and Gold are now undefeated in the 2018 MLS regular-season with a record of 8-0-1 when scoring at least two goals. Similarly, Columbus is undefeated in regular-season action when scoring on the road with a record of 3-0-0, with its other two road victories coming against Toronto FC (March 3) and against the New England Revolution (May 19).
With tonight’s 3-2 victory, Crew SC’s record on the season moves to 10-7-6. Next up, Crew SC will take on the Houston Dynamo at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, August 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET, following a bye week.