COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Crew SC hosted Crewmas, their home opener, on Sunday afternoon against New York City FC. City were playing on short rest, having advances in Concacaf Champions League earlier in the week. A Maxime Chanot red card made things even tougher.
Maxime Chanot Red Card Downs NYCFC in Columbus
This was looking to be a competitive and interesting match between Eastern Conference teams, but that outlook changed drastically three minutes in when Maxime Chanot was given a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.
He and Lucas Zelarayan were chasing down a ball in NYCFC’s half when Chanot appeared to just clip the bottom of Zelarayn’s foot. The No. 10 went down with no one between him and the ball and just goalkeeper Sean Johnson between him and the goal.
Head official Ramy Touchan gave a red card to for DOGSO and did not go to the VAR monitor to review the call. The rest of the first half consisted mostly of Columbus attacking in waves. Pedro Santos had several good looks inside the box but his shots were always rising. The half ended 0-0.
NYCFC had a few good counter-pressing moments in the first half but parked the bus to start the second half.
Columbus finally converted on a chance in the 56th minute. Throwing numbers forward, the switched the field to Youness Mokhtar. He passed it to Zelarayan in the box. The Argentine held off two defenders in tight space, spun to face goal, and bent the ball inside the far post.
City came out of their shell after that needing to get back in the game. Maxi Moralez earned a free kick in the 78th minute just outside the box but they couldn’t convert. Santos nearly made it 2-0 on the 81st minute but was again denied in a header in the box. The match ended 1-0.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 1, 2020
Sending off changes the game: NYCFC were probably coming in with tired legs from CCL. Just three minutes in, they had to work even harder to get anything out of this game, hampering most of their offensive plans.
Big money, big moments: Lucas Zelarayan arrived in the summer as the most expensive player in Crew history. He absolutely won this game for Columbus in making the plays to send of Chanot and score the winning goal.
Missed chances for Santos: Pedro Santos probably had the best chances in this game. We had several good looks with his feet and two quality headers, one that was saved by Johnson and one that was off target in the second half. If he had buried one, it might have been a more relaxing second half for his defenders.