Foxborough, Massachusetts (May 19, 2018) — It was a game that had scoreless draw written all over it. Conditions at Gillette Stadium were dreary and rainy. Neither Columbus Crew SC nor the New England Revolution seemed to have the finishing quality required for a goal.
Then Federico Higuaín whipped a corner kick into the box in the 85th minute. Center back Lalas Abubakar subsequently made a run into space and headed the ball past goalkeeper Matt Turner for the lone goal of the game. For Abubakar, it was his first tally of the season and second of his now two-year career while Higuain registered his fifth assist of 2018 and the 54th of his illustrious Crew SC career.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 20, 2018
Late Goal From Lalas Abubakar Helps Columbus Crew SC Steal All Three Points in New England
The result moves Crew SC even on points with New York City FC after their 4-0 drubbing of the Colorado Rapids earlier in the day. NYC currently owns the tiebreaker due to superior goal differential. As a result, Columbus finds themselves in third place in both the Eastern Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings.
Higuaín’s helper on the eventual game-winner made amends for an earlier miss on his part. In the ninth minute, he collected the ball in the box after a favorable deflection and had a legitimate opportunity to put the visitors ahead early. But his effort sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, one that certainly goes in the category of missed sitter.
Minutes after Abubakar’s tally, the game had its most controversial moment. With the Revs in search of an equalizer, the ball came to second-half substitute Brian Wright. As he moved into the box, Crew SC right back Harrison Afful made contact with his hip and he fell to the turf. But referee Sorin Stoica swallowed his whistle and let play continue.
In the end, Columbus has to feel ecstatic at securing three points when even a tie would’ve been an amenable result considering the circumstances. Either way, the club is now unbeaten in six straight with Atlanta United the only team in the league with more points.
Crew SC returns to action in eight days time for the second leg of their current two-game road trip. The Black and Gold will face Sporting Kansas City in the club’s only nationally televised game of 2018. Kickoff from Children’s Mercy Park takes place at 6:00 p.m. ET with television coverage on FS1.