Columbus Crew SC earned their second straight home win with a 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday behind the lethal combination of Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara.
The two attackers hit New York hard, as the pair connected on both goals to overcome an early Anatole Abang strike.
As has become a trend for Columbus, they found themselves in a hole early, the sixth straight match in which they conceded first. And after just eight minutes, New York silenced an Independence Day crowd at MAPFRE Stadium early thanks to Abang's third goal of the season.
Bradley Wright-Phillips acted as a playmaker and popped a ball over the top of the Crew SC defense for Abang, who outpaced center back Emanuel Pogatetz before sliding a shot from a tough angle inside the far left post defended by goalkeeper Steve Clark.
But Columbus responded, surging forward when wingers Finlay and Justin Meram finally began finding space. And in the 33rd minute, Finlay capitalized on that space to bring Crew SC level.
Clark earned a rare goalkeeper assist from a long goal kick that found the head of Kamara, who calmly flicked it to a streaking Finlay. The winger made a hard cut in the box, creating enough separation from RBNY center back Damien Perrinelle to curl a well-placed shot around goalkeeper Luis Robles with his left foot to draw the match level.
The goal was the result of an incredibly productive partnership between Kamara and Finlay, who have now combined for 17 goals and 15 assists on the season.
Columbus would keep up the pressure in the second half, launching a plethora of crosses and corner kicks at a Red Bulls defense that after halftime began to show signs of fatigue from their midweek US Open Cup win against the New York Cosmos. While Columbus rested most of their first-choice XI in their USOC loss to Orlando City SC, the Red Bulls used several regular starters.
Aside from a rocketed volley from Wright-Phillips that barely skimmed over the crossbar, New York created far fewer chances in the second half, struggling to link their midfield and forwards in the absence of Dax McCarty.
And in the 73rd minute, the Red Bulls defense was broken again by the same combination as on the first Columbus goal.
This time it was Federico Higuain providing the first ball, chopping a lob over the Red Bulls back line and onto the head of Kamara. The forward looked up to find Finlay and again put a header on a plate for the winger, who calmly finished past a helpless Robles.
The 2-1 scoreline gave Columbus (6-6-6) two wins and a draw from their last three matches, a streak that followed a disappointing six-match winless streak. The win gives them 24 points on the season, passing the Red Bulls (6-6-5) who sit at 23.
Crew SC travel to Montreal next Saturday night to take on the Impact, while the Red Bulls will welcome the New England Revolution on the same night.