COLUMBUS, Ohio – Artur started a three-goal outburst in the second half shortly after New York City FC went down a man and the Columbus Crew won the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals 4-1 on Tuesday night.
The Crew were clinging to a 1-0 lead when New York defender Alexander Callens was given a red card in the 52nd minute following a video review of his takedown of Justin Meram. Artur, on a feed from Federico Higuain, capped a four-on-two with his first goal of the season six minutes later. Meram scored his 14th in the 69th minute on a long ball that went under keeper Sean Johnson and Harrison Afful got his first goal in the third minute of stoppage time.
The second leg of the two-game aggregate series is Sunday in New York City. The fifth-seeded Crew had a 2-2 tie in the Bronx on the final day of the regular season.
Ola Kamara put the Crew on the board in the 6th minute with his 19th goal. Pedro Santos surprised unsuspecting defender Rodney Wallace, stealing the ball from behind. He then sent it into the middle of the box to Federico Higuain. Johnson made a diving save but the rebound went right to Kamara for the one-timer. David Villa scored his 23rd goal for New York in the 78th minute.