The Columbus Crew took all three points in their Saturday matchup with Eastern Conference foe Toronto FC, riding first-half goals from Luis Diaz and Gyasi Zardes to a 2-1 victory at Historic Crew Stadium.
Ayo Akinola scored the lone goal of the match for Toronto with a rebound finish early in the second half, but Zardes’ 21st-minute tally wound up standing as the game-winner, moving the Crew to 3-2-2- and 11 points through seven matches.
Columbus opened the scoring in the 12th minute, as Diaz got loose on a breakaway following a Toronto corner kick where the Reds didn’t have any defenders back. That allowed Pedro Santos to set Diaz up with a feed for a solo run all the way to the other end into a one-on-one with Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono, which the Costa Rican capped off by coolly slotting the finish into the back of the net.
Zardes then added the second eight minutes later, just after he’d had a goal waved off for offside. The US international got on the end of a cross from Santos and managed to redirect it with a bouncing finish over Bono to put the hosts up 2-0.
Toronto would pull one back, as Akinola got the visitors on the board in the 52nd minute with a rebound finish that the 20-year-old homegrown cashed home after Richie Laryea had his initial shot saved by Eloy Room. Toronto had one last-gasp attempt in the waning moments of second-half stoppage time as Michael Bradley teed up a shot from the top of the area, but Room came through with a diving denial and the Crew saw out the 2-1 final.
Up next, The Crew hosts Chicago Fire FC on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET, the final match at Historic Crew Stadium before the Columbus Crew open their new, downtown stadium on July 3.
Columbus Crew Match Notes
- With his game-winning goal in today’s match against Toronto FC, Gyasi Zardes reached 50 tallies for The Crew across all competitions since joining the Club ahead of the 2018 season. Zardes’ goal came in the 21st minute of the match and was assisted by midfielders Pedro Santos and Derrick Etienne Jr. Additionally, Zardes’ goal took him to 45 regular-season goals for the Club and put him ahead of Stern John on The Crew’s all-time regular-season scoring leaderboard. Zardes now holds sole possession of fourth place, behind only Jeff Cunningham (64), Brian McBride (62) and Federico Higuain (55).
- Luis Diaz scored the opening goal in today’s home match against Toronto FC. The Costa Rican midfielder received a pass from midfielder Pedro Santos, before going on a breakaway and scoring in the 12th minute. This was Diaz’s first goal in regular-season action since scoring in a 2019 road contest against Atlanta United (September 14).
- Midfielder Pedro Santos reached his 100th regular-season appearance with Columbus Crew in today’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC. Santos marked the occasion by registering two assists, as he provided the through-ball pass to Luis Diaz’s 12th-minute goal before providing the helper on Gyasi Zardes’ 21st-minute strike. With his two assists today, Santos has now recorded 25 regular-season helpers since joining the Black & Gold.
- Midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. registered his first assist of the 2021 season in today’s win over Toronto FC. Etienne Jr. provided a secondary helper on Gyasi Zardes’ 21st-minute goal, which proved to be the game-winner. The assist was the midfielder’s third helper in 26 regular-season appearances (11 starts) for the Black & Gold since joining ahead of the 2020 season.
- Darlington Nagbe wore the Columbus Crew armband for the first time since joining the Club during today’s match against Toronto FC. The midfielder signed with The Crew ahead of the 2020 season and has made 21 regular-season appearances (19 starts) while registering one goal and one assist to date.
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