The Columbus Crew find themselves only three points away from the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs picture after a big home win on Saturday night. Gyasi Zardes scored twice to notch a 2-1 win over CF Montréal, who were looking to pull away in the Eastern Conference.
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Crew fans rejoiced as their team notched all three points, giving them momentum in their hunt for a playoff spot and for additional silverware. The reigning MLS Cup champions will face off against Liga MX's Cruz Azul in the Campeones Cup on Wednesday night. | PURCHASE TICKETS
Zardes stole a goal away from a slow first half for the Crew at the 44th minute. The US men's national team forward leaped to reach a cross from Derrick Etienne Jr. and struck the ball past James Pantemis to open the score for the hosts.
Early in the second half, Zardes then took it upon himself to give Columbus a 2-0 lead. At the 62nd minute, Mathieu Choiniere gave the ball away creating a Crew counter-attack in the visitor's own end.
Montreal's defense gave more than enough space for Zardes to make his way to the edge of the box and try his luck. The striker sent a bomb towards the far post and notched his seventh goal of the season.
Looking to get back into the game, Montréal took advantage of a Crew giveaway at the 74th minute to have a chance on goal. Matko Mijevic, who made his MLS debut coming off the bench, made his way to the edge of the box and like Zardes decided to try his luck. Playing against his former club for the very first time, goalkeeper Evan Bush made a diving save to deny Miljevic of a second goal in all competitions for his new club.
Montreal robbed Bush of his clean sheet in second-half stoppage time. Lassi Lappalainen hit the post but poor defending from Columbus allowed for Romell Quioto to add a late goal to the mix.
Up next, the Crew hosts LIGA MX side Cruz Azul, last year's Campeon de Campeones, in a winner-take-all match as part of Campeones Cup, as Columbus will be looking to become the second MLS side to win the competition.