MSB epic: Columbus Crew rips up script and advances over Atlanta United

So a 0-0 tie is boring?

Thursday's Knockout Game between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew SC will go down as one of the most dramatic playoff games in MLS history.

With its future in Columbus up the air, Crew SC came into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and stunned the Five Stripes, winning 3-1 on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of scoreless action.

The win assured the Crew of a home playoff date -- Halloween Tuesday against New York City FC -- and a chance for its fans to show Crew owner, Anthony Precourt, who is eyeing a move to Austin, that he should keep the team in Columbus.

1. Scoreless but not for the lack of trying.

Atlanta United and the Crew combined for 41 shots, four off the woodwork:

11th minute: Miguel Almiron's shot from distance is tipped by Zak Steffen off bar.
68th minute: Sub Kekuta Manneh hits crossbar from left side.
73rd minute: Josef Martinez hits post from four yards out with an open goal.
105th+1 minute: Harrison Afful hits bar from outside the area.

In the first half, the Crew had a goal by Ola Kamara disallowed for a wrong offside call not reviewable because the whistle blew before the ball crossed the line, but its best chance came in the 118th minute when Afful headed captain Wil Trapp's lofted pass into the area toward the empty net, where Atlanta United's Michael Parkhurst cleared the ball off the line.

2. More heroics from shootout specialist Steffen.

Steffen, who had a career-high eight saves during the game, was the hero of the shootout, stopping the first two shots by Julian Gressel and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. On Gressel's shot, Steffen dived to his right and reached back to tip the ball away.

Gressel should probably have watched tape of Steffen two years ago at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand where he twice dived to his right and stopped penalty kicks that would sent Serbia through to the semifinals. Coached by current Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic, Serbia eventually won the shootout in the ninth round and went on to win the U-20 championship.

At 22, Steffen is the second youngest goalkeeper after Nick Rimando in 2001 to record a shutout in the playoffs.

3. Atlanta United's scoring touch deserts it.

The match drew a playoff-record 67,221 fans, a remarkable crowd considering the game was played on only four days' notice. But they were silent as the game ended when sub Adam Jahn scored the third goal for Crew in the shootout.

Atlanta United scored 70 goals in its first MLS season -- second in the league to Toronto FC's 74 goals -- but couldn't convert on any of its 23 shots in regulation and overtime and only one of its four shots in the shootout.

“Sometimes that’s how these games go,” Atlanta coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said. “It’s a little unfair that we finished pretty well this season, and tonight finishing was an issue. Some of the shots that we usually make, just tonight we didn’t finish.”

Oct. 27 in Atlanta
Atlanta United 0 Columbus 0.
Atlanta United -- Guzan; McCann (Ambrose 109), Walkes, Larentowicz, Walkes (Mears, 106); Carmona, Gressel; Asad (Parkhurst 68), Almiron, Villalba; Martinez (Peterson 113).
Columbus -- Steffen; Jimenez (Raitala 73), Williams, Mensah, Afful (Jahn 120); Artur, Trapp, Meram (Manneh 59), Higuain, Santos (Hansen 105); Kamara.
Att.: 67,221.

9 comments about "MSB epic: Columbus Crew rips up script and advances over Atlanta United".
  1. Hat Trick, October 27, 2017 at 7:20 a.m.

    Watched two events last night. Atlanta/Crew and KC/Dynamo.  I would like to hear some comments from some who watched the games and if it was actually soccer that was played.

  2. frank schoon replied, October 27, 2017 at 9:43 a.m.

    FAN, Geez , I forgot all about it...What did you think of the Atlanta game. I was hoping Atlanta would win it. Seeing they went into penalties...did Columbus parked the bus or what..what is it an enjoyable game

  3. Hat Trick replied, October 27, 2017 at 9:58 a.m.

    Frank, the Atlanta game was enjoyable.  The KC/Dynamo looked like a free for all.  Soccer at its worst I thought at least in my opinion.  Looked like rugby with a round ball.

  4. frank schoon replied, October 27, 2017 at 10:10 a.m.

    Fan, looking forwards to seeing the U17 England-Spain game tomorrow. I saw the England-Brazil game and it was same old, same old Brazil, they deserve to lose. They didn't learn anything from that beating they suffered at WC'14 against Germany. England actually played much more modern than Brazil...Surprised that SA didn't have a write up on the game and neither with Spain-Mali.

  5. Gus Keri, October 27, 2017 at 7:58 a.m.

    These 4 MLS playoff games showed all aspects of soccer playing. A dimolition of an away team, a demolition of a home team, a highly entertaining offensively-oriented 0-0 game, boring defensive 1-0 game. This is soccer at its best. 

  6. Gus Keri, October 27, 2017 at 8:13 a.m.

    Sorry for the misspelling. I hope Soccer America reinstall the spelling correction app on this version like the previous version.

  7. :: SilverRey ::, October 27, 2017 at 9:56 a.m.

    Garber Hates Us
    Garber Hates Us
    Garber Hates Us
    We Don't Care
    We're From Columbus
    Precourt's Not One Of Us
    Garber Hates Us
    We Don't Care


  8. Molly Wilsbacher, October 28, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

    The Atlanta v Columbus game was the best soccer game I've ever watched. I've been a season ticket holder for 14 years in Columbus and it was amazing! The score does not reflect how exciting it was.

  9. Zabivaka Sobaka, October 30, 2017 at 11:41 p.m.

    Can't wait until Crew moves....Columbus fans do not deserve MLS team! Empty stands..... very upsetting! Ohio State - full house....of course it is more fun to watch kids hurting each other! Crew is not appreciated in Columbus!!!  Move is pretty much warranted!!!

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