CLB 3(3) – 1(2) MTL – Playoff Game Recap

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Columbus Crew SC. vs. Montreal Impact – Game Recap, MLS Playoff Semifinals Second Leg

Hosts Columbus Crew beat visitors Montreal Impact last night in what turned out to be a dramatic match, with both sides giving their best and fighting until the last minute of added time to get their spot in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference Championships.

Montreal did come on the back of a 2-1 win on the first leg of this MLS faceoff last Sunday, but Columbus’s Federico Higuain’s away goal last week did give the hosts momentum and hope, as it was an important aggregate point.

So, the hosts did stand a chance, and the game was wide open for both teams to advance further in this MLS 2015 Playoffs.

The game opened in a very fast pace on both ends, but from the start Columbus seemed to be the side that better prepared for the match.

Aside from the close guarding of Didier Drogba by the Crew, mainly Gaston Suaro, Columbus was able to move the ball forward quickly, and Kai Kamara and Ethan Finlay kept on getting the ball and creating threats on the Montreal side.

Montreal Impact also came up with a lot of determination and kept on fending off Columbus attacks, as well as creating its own chances.

The first goal came early in the match, with Waylon Francis receiving a pass to the left of the box from Higuain, and sending a cross to Kamara who headed into goal from the goal area, giving the hosts an early lead (4’).

Columbus Crew 1 – 0 Montreal Impact

The fast-paced game kept on for most of the first half, leaving many wondering if the teams can keep it up.

Both sides kept on with end-to-end counter attacks, however it was Columbus Crew that was really on show.  Columbus had most of the possession, and also seem to create more chances.

Montreal Impact also seemed to create chances, but not as many.  Still, the Impact showed the potential to become dangerous.

And Montreal indeed sparked at the end of the second half, with Dilly Duka receiving a ball into to Columbus’s goal box and giving it a gentle touch into goal, scoring the equalizer despite of the Crew’s protest for an offside (40’).

Duka, the former Columbus Crew player was at the right place to capitalize and score.  This was the first time Montreal were able to sustain pressure, and it paid.

Columbus Crew 1 – 1 Montreal Impact

Montreal Impact did not manage to find a lot of their star Designated Player Dider Drogba.  Drogba was drifting in and out of the game, but obviously still remained dangerous at times.  Columbus defense giving him very little space.  Mostly Gaston Suaro who marked Drogba all night and ended up being shown a yellow card.

Meaning, that the Argentinian, who is a major part of the Crew’s defense will miss the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Championship against New York Red Bulls.

Coming back from halftime and having scored the equalizer late in the second half, Montreal have grown into the game, and the goal seemed to have given them a lot of confidence.

But Columbus have gathered themselves and are maintained intensity as well, giving everything that they have got.

A questionable penalty was awarded to Columbus after Montreal’s Laurent Ciman put is arms on Columbus’s Ethan Finlay and tripped him on the edge of the box.

Kai Kamara took the penalty kick with no real conviction, pace or power.  Impact’s goalkeeper Evan Bush guessed correctly and declined Kamara with a dive to the left.  Still, it was an easy save (67).

It was Ethan Finlay who scored the hosts’ second goal of the night, taking a ball that was cleared by Bush and kicking it in from close range and scoring his 13th goal of the season (77’).

Columbus Crew 2 – 1 Montreal Impact

The teams then went into overtime with a 3-3 draw on aggregate.  It no longer seemed to be about game tactics or strategy, by that time it was all about determination on who wants more to win and advance in the MLS playoffs this year.

Both teams pressed hard, but Columbus applied even more pressure on Montreal.  Kamara redeemed himself from the poor penalty miss earlier, and settled the score with a brilliant header to the back post from the right, scoring his 24th goal this season (111’).

Columbus Crew 3 – 1 Montreal Impact

Columbus Crew will host the New York Red Bulls for Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference Championships on Sunday, November 22nd.