After topping the New York Red Bulls at the weekend, and then dominating the Montreal Impact midweek, New York City FC once again returned to Yankee Stadium on Saturday to host the Columbus Crew. After a hot start to the season, Saturday's visitors have since cooled down and taken just one win from their last eight games. However, on Saturday they were hoping to spoil Domènec Torrent's birthday and leave NYC victorious.
The eight-minute mark was the first scare for either side as Pedro Santos' shot-cross was swatted into the air by Sean Johnson. The ball didn't go over the bar and instead dropped right in front of goal. Thankfully, Johnson was quick to recover and punched it before it found the head of Niko Hansen. Columbus continued to dominate the opening quarter of an hour forcing Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot into multiple big defensive plays.
Callens showed he could do more than stop opposing attacks as it was him who rose highest on an offensive corner kick in the 22nd minute forcing Zack Steffen into an impressive diving save. Shortly after, NYCFC kept a closer eye on Federico Higuain and chances become more limited, but still available for the visitors. Despite all this, the referee blew his whistle at the forty-five minute mark and the Eastern Conference clubs were forced into the break with an empty scoreline.
New York City had a pair of huge chances in the 52nd minute when Maxi Moralez picked the ball off Josh Williams and ran through on goal. Fortunately for Columbus, Steffen made a big save on the first attempt and Medina's shot went inches wide. However, NYCFC were already looking better than they did in the first half, and that's bad news for Columbus.
Then, NYCFC brought on recent super sub, Jonathan Lewis. Just a minute after coming on, Lewis' cross found the feet of Maxi Moralez who put the ball over the net. The next big chance came for the visitors as Pedro Santos cut the ball back onto his left foot sending Callens sliding by. It was Anton Tinnerholm's sliding effort which kept the ball out of his net and kept the scoreline at 0-0.
The deadlock was broken in the 80th minute when Jonathan Lewis pounced on poor defending for the second time in the span of a week. Despite hitting the post, the 21-year-old picked up his own rebound, beat a pair of defenders, slid it across the box to a composed Jesus Medina who scored his second in as many games. 1-0 to the hosts.
If not for the Steffen, NYCFC would have doubled their lead just moments later as Medina's cross sent into the box found 5'3" Maxi Moralez's head who forced a tremendous save out of Steffen. Unfortunately for Steffen, he did go on to concede a second goal in the 90th minute as dribbled from midfield and tucked it into the corner to double the hosts lead. NYCFC picked up another win making it three wins in a week pulling them level with Atlanta United in the Supporters' Shield race.
After five of their most recent six games taking place at Yankee Stadium for Saturday's hosts, they'll get set for two away trips. First, NYCFC will travel south to take on a struggling Orlando City SC. Then, the Boys in Blue will go west to take on the Seattle Sounders to wrap up the month of July.
For Columbus, they all have a meeting with Orlando coming up as they host OCSC prior to the NYCFC meeting. Then, the Crew will stop by New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls before returning home once again for a meeting with the Houston Dynamo.