New England and Columbus Advance to MLS East Conference Finals

Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes (11) in 2019. Photo by David Kirouac/CSM/Shutterstock (10203583p)

The MLS East Conference Finals matchup is set. New England Revolution got an upset 3-1 win over Orlando City on Sunday to secure their spot, while Columbus Crew needed extra-time to see off the surprise of the season Nashville SC.

Revolution, who entered the playoffs as the No.8 seed, had an electric start against Orlando, needing just 25 minutes to score two goals. It was the doing of Carles Gil, who scored from the penalty spot in 17th, and Gustavo Bou, who cleaned up the woodwork miss from Adam Buksa eight minutes later to give his team 2-0 lead.

Orlando didn’t have any intention to give up, cutting into New England’s lead in the 33rd minute thanks to Junior Urso. However, their chances of getting level worsened when Mauricio Pereyra got ejected for his start on Matt Polster early in the second period.

Nani had a chance to give City a lifeline in the 74th minute via a penalty kick, but Revolution’s goalie Matt Turner managed to make the save and hold off goal-hungry Orlando.

Finally, Bou removed any doubts about the winner when he used Gil’s crafty assist to make it 3-1.

Columbus Crew and Nashville, on the other hand, didn’t offer such an eventful regular time. Both teams had their fair share of chances but looked more focused on keeping their goal intact than wanting to score.

After scoreless two periods, the extra time offered some excitement, at least for Columbus’ fans.

Crew scored in the 99th minute via Pedro Santos and then doubled their advantage just four minutes later when Gyasi Zardes found the net. This quick double-strike by Columbus caught Nashville off-guard, and they never managed to recover after.

New England and Columbus are now set to face off for the spot in MLS Cup Finals on December 6th.