Columbus Crew booked their place in the Eastern Conference semi-finals with a 3-2 victory over Gerhard Struber's New York Red Bulls in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Struber, taking charge of his first Red Bulls game, saw Caden Clark put his side ahead in the 23rd minute of Saturday's knockout clash at MAPFRE Stadium

Yet Pedro Santos' penalty restored parity inside three minutes, and Darlington Nagbe struck just 23 seconds into the second half to complete the turnaround.

Gyasi Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th minute, sending a floated header back across goal after latching onto Derrick Etienne Jr's cross.

Struber had hope when Brian White pulled one back in the 90th minute, though it proved nothing more than a footnote after Tom Barlow missed the chance to equalise in stoppage time.

The Crew join Orlando City in the semi-finals, with the Florida team having overcome New York City FC 6-5 in a remarkable penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw.

Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence has insisted he is working hard to be ready when called upon for new Belgian Premier League club Anderlecht.

The 27-year-old defender recently completed a move to the European club from United States MLS team New York Red Bull.  Lawrence made 118 appearances for the New York franchise in five years.  With the move away from the club coming ahead of the start of the new MLS season, the right-back has admitted he is a little short on match fitness.

“The guys are already midway or past midway the season so it’s already business time.  For me right now it’s about getting fit and being ready to play,” Lawrence told members of the media at his unveiling.

Lawrence qualifies to play this weekend against  Mechelen but is not yet sure he is ready to make an appearance.

“As it relates to fitness, I’m coming off a long offseason about 2 months offseason, so match fitness I’m not up to that standard yet but I should be soon.  The guys are pushing each and every day, I am about a week in, so about next week or a week and a half I should be up to 90 minutes match fitness,” Lawrence said.

“So far though the guys are being smart because you know when a player is coming back from offseason you can’t just rush him into a game because that is risking injury.”

 

As the January transfer window begins to close for another season, reports have emerged that Jamaica’s Kemar Lawrence might be heading to Belgium.

Multiple reports are claiming that the 27-year-old fullback is set to leave the New York Red Bulls for Anderlecht for a fee of about US$1.25 million pending the completion of a medical and the associated paperwork.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls from Harbour View FC in 2015. He made 118 appearances for the club, starting 19 of the 22 games he played for them last season.

He has 55 senior appearances for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Reggae Boyz left back Kemar Lawrence is no longer happy at his New York Red Bulls home.

Lawrence, one of the longest serving players at the club, recently had a request for an improved contract rejected, meaning last year’s MLS Best XI pick and 2019 All-Star, might be looking for greener pastures.

Lawrence, in 2018, signed a contract worth US$338,000, making him the highest-paid defender on the team last season.

Things have changed since then, however, as teammates have since earned new contracts, relegating the left backs status at the club.

It is also suggested that Lawrence is not happy with his remuneration when compared to other left backs around the league.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls in 2015 and has since made more than 120 appearances. His contract is set to expire in 2021.

Lawrence also has 58 caps for the Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, starting in 56 of those games, helping them to the Caribbean Cup in 2014 and two famous second places at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2015 and 2017 before this year’s semi-final exit.

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