MLS Cup Playoffs: Columbus Crew SC 3-1 AET (4-3 agg.) Montreal Impact
The game in 100 words (or less): It took 180 minutes, then it took 30 minutes more, but Columbus Crew SC are through to the Eastern Conference finals where they’ll face the top-seeded New York Red Bulls in two weeks’ time, after knocking off the Montreal Impact, 3-1 (4-3 on aggregate) Sunday night at MAPFRE Stadium. The two-legged triumph erases a nightmare of a playoff appearance in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs, in which Gregg Berhalter’s side was hammered by the New England Revolution, 7-3 over two legs. Kei Kamara scored twice on the night — a pair of headers, of course — to go along with Ethan Finlay’s late equalizer in regular time. Dilly Duka, playing against his first professional team, scored a goal that for a period of time had the Impact in front with as few as 12 minutes of regular time to be played.
Three Four Five moments that mattered
4' — Kamara heads home from close range — Get the ball wide, get the ball into the box and watch Kamara head it home — that’s been roughly 86.7 percent of Crew SC’s gameplan in 2015, and to devastating effect. Federico Higuain sprang Waylon Francis down the left wing and the Sierra Leonean striker did the rest.
40' — Duka puts Montreal back up on aggregate — Chaos inside the penalty area, a failure to clearance and a badly missed offside infraction — that’s all it took for Montreal to equalize on the day and reclaim the aggregate lead through Dilly Duka’s close-range finish.
68' — Bush saves Kamara’s PK to preserve lead — It would have re-tied the series on aggregate, but it was a very soft penalty decision in the first place. Kamara hadn’t taken a penalty all season long, but he talked Higuain out of the responsibility nonetheless. It was a poor penalty, saved rather easily by Bush as long as he goes the right way.
78' — Finlay puts home the rebound, 3-3 on aggregate — Duka was offside on his goal in the first half, and Jack McInerney was offside during the build-up to Finlay’s goal late in the second half, so we’re even now. To extra time we go.
111' — Kamara heads home again late in extra time — Kei Kamara, expert header of soccer balls. The man is brilliant when it comes to finish chances with his head, as evidenced in his late winner to send Cedrick Mabwati’s header home from an incredibly tough angle, from a fair distance out.
Man of the match: Kei Kamara
Goalscorers: Kamara (4', 111'), Duka (40'), Finlay (78')