Columbus spoil Struber's coaching debut, edge Red Bulls to reach East semis
Photo: Emilee Chinn

The Columbus Crew have booked their spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals after holding off the New York Red Bulls 3-2 at MAPFRE Stadium, ruining the debut of Gerhard Struber as New York head coach.

Caden Clark gave the visitors the lead before Columbus scored three unanswered goals courtesy of Pedro Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes. Brian White scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute for New York.

A poor clearance by Columbus allowed Clark to slam a left-footed strike past Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room. At 17 years, 178 days old, Clark became the youngest player to score in a playoff game since Jozy Altidore.

The Crew were level after Santos was tripped up in the box by Dru Yearwood and he stepped up to beat New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara with a left-footed effort. 

Lucas Zelarayan hit the post with a long-range strike before Nagbe scored 23 seconds into the second half to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. They doubled their advantage when Zardes looped his header back across goal following a cross from Derrick Etienne Jr.

Jared Stroud set up White with a delightful ball in from the right flank as he sent one low past Roof and the Red Bulls nearly equalized in the 93rd minute through Tom Barlow, but Columbus held on to face Nashville or Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.