Crew end Atlanta MLS season in shootout

Oct 27, 2017 - 5:12 AM Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen has saved two Atlanta United penalties in a shootout for the Crew to advance to the Major League Soccer (MLS) semi-finals 3-1.

Neither team had been able to break the deadlock on Thursday in regular time.

Steffen first saved a shot from Julian Gressel then had less trouble with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez's weak effort. Jeff Larentowicz hit the post with Atlanta's fourth kick.

Crew substitute Adam Jahn scored the clincher in the shootout to silence the near 70,000 fans at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The western conference knockout match between Houston and Sporting Kansas City also failed to produce a goal in the regulation 90 minutes, but Honduran international Alberth Elis scored the winner for the Dynamo early in the first extra period.

In Atlanta, the result ended an impressive first season by the expansion United team, who set league attendance records and played an eye-catching brand of football led by South American duo Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez.

The Crew, who have one of the lowest attendance records in the league and an owner threatening to move the franchise to Austin unless Columbus builds a new stadium, go on to an eastern conference semi-final against New York City FC.

"It was my time to do my job," Steffen said after the game, describing the victory as the biggest of his short career.

"We had a game plan and we stuck to it and got it done," Steffen said. "This is huge. This goes back to the city of Columbus."

The Dynamo dominated Kansas City but left it late to clinch victory and earn a western conference semi-final against the top-seeded Portland Timbers.

Elis slotted home the winner from close range in the fourth minute of the first extra period after substitute Vicente Sanchez cut the ball back to his teammate.

Elis scored for Honduras earlier this month in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico, a game Honduras won 3-2 to advance to a two-leg playoff against Australia for a spot in Russia 2018.

However, he is suspended for the first leg at home on November 10 against the Socceroos.

Source: AAP

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