it 2-0 before Lucas Zelarayan pulled a goal
back right before halftime for a Columbus side that was forced
to play with 10 men from the 43rd minute on following a red card
for Afful. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Columbus would
not go home empty-handed, securing a point thanks to a first MLS
goal from Miguel Berry.
The first half was action-packed from start to finish. In the
opening seconds, Acosta maneuvered past challenges on the
endline before cutting the ball back for Castillo, whose
first-time left-footed strike flew into the net off the
despairing boot of Jonathan Menash as he tried to block
on the line. Castillo's effort was the 12th fastest goal in MLS
Cincy quickly capitalized to double its advantage. This time
Acosta was both instigator and finisher. The Argentine No. 10
started an interchange on the edge of the box involving Brenner
and Isaac Atanga before the ball fell back to him in the
area and he finished calmly past Crew backup keeper Evan Bush.
Despite being down a man, the Crew took the game to Cincinnati
in the second half.
Zelarayan almost scored his second sensational goal of the night
with another first-time blast from outside the box only for this
one to cannon off the underside of the bar and away, but the
Crew would not be denied. Zelarayan played an inch-perfect
through ball into the area and Berry cooly dinked a shot over
the advancing Kenneth Vermeer to rescue an unlikely point
for the MLS Cup champs.