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November 2018
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Crew SC wins shoot out at DC United with Higuian & Steffen starring; earns ticket to Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. NY Red Bulls

GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a match eerily similar to last season’s postseason triumph over Atlanta United FC and nearly a year to the day, a brace from Federico Higuaín and penalty-kick heroics from Zack Steffen propelled Columbus Crew SC past D.C. United 3-2 in penalty kicks in the Knockout Round of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs on Thursday, Nov. 1 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

D.C. United, who had not lost in its last 10 matches - including five straight home wins – struck first via Frédéric Brillant after a Columbus defensive miscue at the goal line in the 21st minute.

Hungry to equalize, Crew SC turned to Higuaín just nine minutes later. Following a Justin Meram cross from the left flank, the veteran midfielder found himself in the right place at the right time inside the six-yard-box and toed in the equalizer, marking his third career postseason goal.

After over an hour of scoreless play, the match entered extra time tied at 1-1 before the Maestro struck again. This time, it was a whipping header from 13 yards out placed deftly inside the far post past a diving Bill Hamid.

D.C.’s attacking pressure eventually broke through in the second period of extra time as Nick DeLeon connected solidly on a well-placed strike following a heading clearance from Gyasi Zardes.

Tied at 2-2 entering PKs, Higuaín calmly converted for the night’s first PK. Up next, Zack Steffen continued doing what Zack Steffen does in penalty kick shootouts, this time against Wayne Rooney.

Wil Trapp and Niko Hansen each converted while Zardes’ attempt was saved by Hamid. Up third for D.C. was Lucas Acosta, and again, Steffen came up huge.

Patrick Mullins stepped up with a chance to win the game against his former team, but was denied by the post.

Next for D.C. was DeLeon, the game-tying scorer with an opportunity to bring D.C. level and extend to a sixth round. With a quick approach, the veteran lifted his try over the frame, sealing Crew SC’s second-straight Knockout Round road victory.

Crew SC now hosts the New York Red Bulls in Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium. Leg 2 will be held at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, November 11, with the time to be determined following Sunday’s match.