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.
The combined 4.32 expected goals (ATL 2.27, CLB 2.05) through 90 minutes are the most in a scoreless @MLS game in our data set (since 2012).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 27, 2017
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.