MLS Eastern Conference Sunday Final: Columbus Crew SC hosts New England Revolution at 3 pm

Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs  – Conference Final
Columbus Crew SC vs. New England Revolution
MAPFRE Stadium – Columbus
December 6 – 3:00 PM ET

TV: ABC, ESPN Deportes, TSN4, TVA Sports

STREAMING: ESPN App in US

A pair of MLS originals are looking to book a spot in MLS Cup again when Columbus Crew SC host the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Final December 6 at MAPFRE Stadium. 

In the topsy-turvy East bracket of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs bracket, the Crew are the only top seed to avoid an upset in their march to the Conference Final. The No. 3 seed used a professional performance to handle the New York Red Bulls in Round One before needing extratime to solve expansion side Nashville SC 2-0 in the Conference Semifinals.  

The Revolution are the prime example of a team hitting their stride, and getting healthy, at the right time of the season. New England entered the postseason as the No. 8 seed and beat the Montreal Impact in a Play-In Match at Gillette Stadium before picking up where they left off in the regular season as road warriors, upsetting No. 1 Philadelphia Union and No. 4 Orlando City SC.  

The teams didn’t meet during the regular season and this is the fourth playoff encounter with the Revs dominating the all-time history. New England are 4W-0L-3D against the Crew in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The last meeting came in the 2014 Conference Semifinals with the Revolution advancing 7-3 on aggregate en route to their run to MLS Cup, where they fell to the LA Galaxy in extratime.

New England are looking to book their sixth berth in MLS Cup and are still seeking their first title. Columbus are trying to reach MLS Cup for a third time in club history, having won the crown in 2008 before losing to the Portland Timbers in 2015 in a match played at MAPFRE Stadium. 

Columbus Crew SC

It was better late than never for the Crew, who scored twice in extratime to fend off pesky Nashville SC to reach the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2017. Gyasi Zardes put on the superhero cape, first setting up Pedro Santos for the match’s first goal in the 99th minute and then scoring the insurance goal four minutes later on Lucas Zelarayan’s second assist. 

The win culminated a difficult week for coach Caleb Porter and his Crew, with seven players testing positive for COVID-19 and training severely limited ahead of the match. An eighth tested positive this week. 

“It was a very challenging week in a very challenging year,” Porter said postgame at MAPFRE Stadium Sunday. “I never had a week like this in my life, in my coaching career. But we have had some moments this year that were similar. And so I think the mentality of the team, I just can’t say enough about this group, how resilient they are, how they’re able to adapt, how they’re able to just keep focused. And I’ve never been more proud of a group.”

Now the Crew know a win against the Revs and MLS Cup will be played at their home ground. But Porter realizes a stiff test awaits them in the Revs, regardless of their playoff seeding. 

“We don’t look at their eight seed and think it’s an easy game. We have a lot of respect for their team,” he said. “They’re one of the best attacking teams we’ve played this year and they fight for Bruce [Arena], they’ve got great spirit, like all these teams have, you can see they’re loose in a good way, which is again a credit to Bruce and the psychology that he’s able to cultivate. It’s going to a be a hell of a test, a hell of a game.”

  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Vito Wormgoor (D) – ankle injury
    • OUT: Derrick Etienne (M) – undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Miguel Berry (F) – undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Jon Kempin (GK) – undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Sebastian Berhalter (M) – undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Chris Cadden (D) – undisclosed injury
    • QUESTIONABLE: Eloy Room (GK) – undisclosed injury
    • QUESTIONABLE: Waylon Francis (D) – undisclosed injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty:  None

New England Revolution

The road warriors did it again. After stunning Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia, handing them their first defeat this season at Subaru Park, the Revs went to Exploria Stadium and upset Orlando City SC 3-1 in the Conference Semifinals Sunday. 

As they did against the Union, the Revs struck for a pair of first-half goals in quick succession with Tajon Buchanan, whose transformation to right back has been an Arena masterclass, setting up goals by Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou inside the opening half hour. Bou, the Argentine forward who honored Diego Maradona after his first goal, added a late insurance goal which came after Matt Turner denied Nani from the penalty spot. 

It was the club’s first playoff brace since Charlie Davies netted two goals against the New York Red Bulls in the second leg of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final on Nov. 29, 2014 — exactly six years ago. 

“All the pieces of the puzzle are working together, so that’s why we’re more effective,” Arena said. “It’s not attributed to necessarily one player, although a lot of people would say that Carles is the one that makes us tick, but it’s a combination of all the players, and all the players understanding their roles, their responsibilities. I think basically we’ve played most of the year with a couple players not always on the same page as the whole group. Now we’re getting closer to having that and I think that’s the reason why we’re more successful.”

  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Luis Caicedo (M) – right knee injury
    • OUT: Cristian Penilla (F) – left foot fracture
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty:  None

Series Matchup at Crew SC

  • Crew SC: 21 wins, 67 goals
  • Revolution: 8 wins, 39 goals
  • 7 draws

MLS Cup Playoffs

  • Crew SC: 0 wins, 6 goals
  • Revolution: 4 wins, 12 goals
  • 3 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Armando Villarreal
  • Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Eric Weisbrod
  • 4th Official: Robert Sibiga
  • VAR: Jon Freemon

Previous Meetings

Apr 6, 2019CLB1 – 0NE
Mar 9, 2019NE0 – 2CLB
May 19, 2018NE0 – 1CLB
Apr 21, 2018CLB2 – 2NE
May 21, 2017NE2 – 1CLB

Current Form

Columbus LWLWWW

New England LWLWWW

Season Goal Leaders

Columbus Crew SCNew England Revolution
Gyasi Zardes11Teal Bunbury8
Pedro Santos8Gustavo Bou7
Lucas Zelarayán4Adam Buksa6

Season Stats

Columbus Crew SCNew England Revolution
25Games Played26
14Wins11
6Losses7
5Draws8
41Goals33
23Goals Conceded27
225Shots276
106Shots on Target126
332Fouls committed308
341Fouls suffered312
47Offside47
128Corners174

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
CLB78640411.6
NE106631331.3

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
CLB108610230.9
NE811610271

MATCH PREVIEW WRITTEN BY DYLAN BUTLER; COURTESY MLS

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