Jack Harrison got his first career brace as NYCFC defeated Columbus Crew SC for the first time in Columbus, 3-2.
Harrison kicked off the scoring in the eighth minute. Maxi Moralez picked up the ball in midfield, then smartly trucked on down the field past five Columbus defenders, then slotted the ball smoothly to Harrison. Harrison then scooped the ball over Crew SC keeper Zack Steffen to score.
In the 29th minute, ball watching by the NYCFC defense resulted in disaster; Columbus midfielder Justin Meram capitalized. In the scramble, Crew SC talisman Federico Higuain slipped past the defense, then volleyed the ball wickedly into goal.
An almighty mental mistake in the 49th minute by Alexander Callens gave Columbus the lead. Meram pounced on the ball, slipped it to Ola Kamara. Kamara then scored.
From there, New York City took control. The Blues built up the pressure, using possession to create chances. When they lost the ball, they did an excellent job of recovering it. In the 64th minute, Ben Sweat delivered a fantastic cross into the box; Yangel Herrera scored with the snap-down header to level the score.
Twelve minutes later, it was Columbus’ turn to make a jaw-dropping error. Harrison Afful squared a pass to Nico Naess. Naess fumbled with the ball at his feet, allowing Herrera to knock it loose in the box. Harrison streaked into the box, and scored the simplest of goals. With that, the young Englishman had the first multi-goal game of his career.
That turned out to be the game-winner. For NYCFC, the result was encouraging, given that Andrea Pirlo didn’t start and saw no playing time, and David Villa missed the game through illness.
Next up: a home game next Sunday against MLS newcomers Atlanta United. That game is at 4 pm on Univision.