Alex Matan and Diego Rossi each scored and had an assist as the host Columbus Crew scored a wild 4-2 win over Atlanta United in the deciding third match of the Eastern Conference first-round series on Sunday.
The Crew will play at Orlando City in a single-elimination conference semifinal on Nov. 25.
Columbus raced to a 3-0 lead on goals by Darlington Nagbe (9th minute), Malte Amundsen (17th) and Matan (33rd).
Giorgos Giakoumakis made it 3-1 in the 35th minute before Rossi scored in the 47th, only to have Xande Silva make it 4-2 in the 50th. Brooks Lennon had two assists for Atlanta.
Atlanta avoided elimination in Match 2 at home on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory following the Crew’s 2-0 win in Columbus in the Nov. 1 opener.
The Crew led MLS with 67 goals in the regular season. Atlanta had one goal fewer so it was not surprising the teams combined for a classic.
Nagbe, who won the MLS Cup with Atlanta in 2018, made it 1-0 with a rip from 23 yards, taking advantage of an unforced giveaway from Miles Robinson to score with a skimming shot to the lower left corner.
Amundsen’s goal was even more stunning. The left back was given room to advance freely, and he drilled a strike from 35 yards into the upper right corner.
The Crew made it 3-0 on the counter when Matan scored from the right side after a pass by Rossi.
Atlanta quieted the crowd two minutes later when Giakoumakis cut the deficit to 3-1. He raced down the middle to take the service from Lennon for his second goal of the series.
Rossi extended the lead to 4-1 in 47th minute from a through ball by Matan, but back came Atlanta when Lennon found Silva in front of the net to make it 4-2.
Brad Guzan had four saves for Atlanta. The Crew’s Patrick Schulte made two.
–Field Level Media
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