Columbus Crew SC are headed to MLS Cup, thanks to a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Final at MAPRE Stadium on Sunday delivered by a second-half game-winning goal from Artur.
It marks the third time in club history Columbus will be headed to the final, and the first time since 2015, when they finished as the runner-up to the Portland Timbers. The Crew are now set to host next Saturday’s championship bout of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs against either Minnesota United or the Seattle Sounders, who play on Monday.
Neither side managed to strike in the first half of the match, although Columbus had the better of the opportunities, with Lucas Zelarayan and Pedro Santos notably finding clean looks on goal that were denied by some stalwart goalkeeping from Matt Turner.
The Revs had their best opportunity of the first half in the 28th minute, when Carles Gil played a ball over the top to Adam Buksa down the left side, allowing the Polish striker to streak by Jonathan Mensah and rip a shot on goal, only to see it deflect off the near post.
The Crew found their breakthrough just before the hour mark after Zelarayan sent in a cross to the far post that was laid back off across the box by Mensah, allowing Artur to coolly slot home a first-time finish.
The hosts would continue to apply the pressure in the aftermath of the goal, with Zelarayan nearly doubling the lead in spectacular fashion just three minutes later with an audacious attempt from distance that beat Turner but was denied by the woodwork.
The near-miss provided New England with a lifeline as they would press for an equalizer, but the Crew managed to bare down and see out the 1-0 final to crown themselves kings of the Eastern Conference for 2020.