In the first few minutes of the match, Red Bulls right-back Kyle Duncan collided with the Crew's Pedro Santos, who sustained what appeared to be a concussion. Santos was replaced by Saad Abdul-Salaam.
The Red Bulls were the stronger team in the first half. One of their first chances came when striker Patryik Klimala ripped a one-timer out of the air which was saved by Crew goalkeeper, Eloy Room in the tenth minute.
New York jumped out to an early lead when a fortuitous bounce fell to Patryk Klimala who was unmarked and scored an easy tap-in. Dru Yearwood had the assist.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) September 15, 2021
The momentum that the Red Bulls had in the first half began to fade late in the second half. The three-man backline of Andrew Gutman, Sean Nealis and Tom Edwards played so strong in the first half, but despite this, Edwards was subbed off in the 59th minute for Andres Reyes.
Following New York subbing out one of it's strongest defensive players, Columbus tied the game in the 74th minute. Carlos Colonel made a strong save, but the rebound was headed home by Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe's goal knotted the game at one and would prove to be a huge momentum boost for Columbus.
The game was decided in the last five minutes of regulation. The Red Bulls Tom Barlow lost possession while dribble on the edge of the Columbus box, which gave Columbus an opportunity to dribble all the way downfield.
Miguel Berry made a nice finish with his left-foot which completed a two-goal comeback for Columbus and a disastrous collapse for the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls Road Ahead
This loss is disappointing because the Red Bulls wasted a strong start to the game. Columbus was able to take advantage of the Red Bulls' poor man-marking, to score two goals in reasonably quick succession in the second half.
Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber explained why his players did not play to the best of their abilities in the second half.
"This is not a communication [issue], this is on every player to bring their best performance and have the power to win battles. When you lose every battle in the midfield, it’s difficult and in the end, the backline, they struggled with so many long balls, and when we are on the ball, we are not clean and, in the end, this is a mix of many things. It’s very hard to accept but at the moment this is our reality."
The schedule is not becoming any easier as the Red Bulls playoff hopes will likely be decided by their next few games, because they sit still three or four wins away from the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York's next game is on Aug. 17 on the road against Inter Miami FC at 7:00 PM and it's hard to not call this one a 'must win.'