Columbus Crew midfielder Sean Zawadzki (25) celebrates his goal. (Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

New York City FC had the game in hand.

Or so the Cityzens thought.

They had a one-goal lead and a man-advantage for the final 32 minutes of regulation and stoppage time.

Yet, they saw it all go down the drain in what turned into a distressing 1-1 draw at the Columbus Crew at Field on Saturday night

Sean Zawadzki scored four minutes into added time to lift doom City to a 1-1 draw.

“I am super frustrated because I want to win football games,” NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing said. “The positives are that we are creating chances, and it shows the work we are putting in. We are getting to a place where we are dominating the game in goal chances. We have had 20 goal chances in two games, scored two goals, and got two points. We should have nine points this week, so I am super frustrated. We can say it was a good performance from the goalkeeper, but we have enough quality on the field to kill the game off. I am frustrated today.”

It was one wild game and finish as referee Sergii Boiko awarded three red cards and 10 yellows (six on Columbus, four on City).

NYCFC (5-7-11, 26 points) saw two points go through its hands in a result that had to feel like a loss for the 13th-place side in the MLS Eastern Conference. Fourth-place Columbus (10-6-6, 36).

Cucho saw red in the 68th minute, forcing the hosts to play a man down the rest of the match.

Seven minutes later, Justin Haak scored his first goal for City for a 1-0 advantage. Haak became NYCFC’s first Homegrown player to score in a game.

“We don’t have a group chat but I saw earlier that James [Sands] texted me, so I have to get back to him,” he said. “But Tayvon [Gray] and Andres [Jasson] were very happy for me now and I think Tayvon [Gray] knew I was going to be the first one to score as a Homegrown.”

Things were looking up in the 90th minute when Columbus head coach Wilfried Nacy was given his marching orders for throwing a water bottle onto the field. Several minutes later, a member of the Crew’s training staff was given the heave-ho for throwing a bottle onto the pitch.

But Zawadski had other things on his mind as NYCFC dropped two more points in what has turned into disappointing season.

There was little question City squandered its scoring opportunities.

Asked what was his biggest takeaway, Cushing replied, “That we didn’t score. We created really really clear goal chances, we had four or five 1v1 chances and we had to score them. You know, this is the reason why we defend the game so well, because if we give Christian Ramirez and Cucho Hernandez those one-on-ones they punish us. We have to get to a point where we take our chances because this is difficult, this is one of the most difficult places to come in the league. The atmosphere is incredible.”

But the Cityzens’ finishing was far from it.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at