After a quietly successful end to an unusual season by just about every context, the New York Red Bulls saw their 2020 season come to an end Saturday afternoon in Columbus. Things looked bright early but after an early goal they ended up trounced by the Columbus Crew by a final score of three goals to two.
The opener came from the 17-year-old wonderkid Caden Clark, who pounced on the second ball cleared off a dangerous Dru Yearwood cross and ripped the ball past the outstretched arms of Eloy Room in the 23rd minute.
It was an impressive play from Yearwood to create a possible chance but unfortunately two minutes later, his mistake allowed the Crew to equalize. Pedro Santos got tripped up inside the area in the 25th minute as Yearwood came late inside the box to cover him, which gave the referee an easy call to make. Santos would convert the equalizer in the next minute.
The Red Bulls’ downfall came from Darlington Nagbe as soon as the second half got started. As former Red bull Derrick Etienne was in a breakaway, he took a shot that was saved by Ryan Meara, but the rebound was loose and Nagbe was able to put it away.
Etienne was involved in the final goal as well as his ball reached Gyasi Zardes who found a way to float the ball over Ryan Meara and gently land inside the net.
While Brian White was able to pull one back in the 90th minute, there wasn’t enough time to get a third and force extra time, as the New York Red Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs. For Gerhard Struber, this was his very first match running the club and his first MLS Cup playoff match as well.
“First of all, congratulations to Columbus for the win, for the next step in the next round. A difficult season ending now, for my team. I think maybe the game showed everyone a little bit of the rollercoaster of the season. In this game, I can see a team that this season never gave up, they always believed for development, always believed they can bring good results, and especially in the last few weeks showed me, showed everyone in the club, also the fans, that we are on a good way. Right now, in this game, we are also a little unlucky, especially in the first half“ said Struber.
“In the second half, especially the goal after the halftime break gave some players a knife in the heart. Many players are shocked in this moment and we lose the momentum.”
“I think it was a very tough game, I expected a very tough game today and I can feel that every single player went to their limit, but in the end this was not enough to win this game.”