🇺🇸 LAFC and Columbus Crew book MLS Cup showdown | OneFootball

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Adam Booker·3 December 2023

🇺🇸 LAFC and Columbus Crew book MLS Cup showdown

Article image:🇺🇸 LAFC and Columbus Crew book MLS Cup showdown

The MLS Cup Playoffs were back underway Saturday evening, as conference champions were crowned in the East and the West. Here is what went down in the matches.

LAFC scrape past Houston to win Western Conference

Scorers: Hollingshead 44′, Escobar (OG) 80′

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LAFC scraped past Houston Dynamo to book a second straight MLS Cup Final appearance.

While the Eastern Conference showdown produced high-flying football earlier in the night, the Western Conference clash in Los Angeles did not live up to the standard in the opening 45 minutes.

Both teams struggled to create high-quality scoring chances, though LAFC carved out a few on the break, but the respective rearguards remained solid.

That was until Ryan Hollingshead pounced on a saved shot from point-blank range to fire the home side in front in the dying minutes of the half to undo Houston’s superb defensive showing.

The Dynamo struggled to put pressure on the hosts as they tried to reclaim parity, and they were undone in the final 15 minutes to all but put the tie to bed.

A fizzed cross was unfortunately bumped in off of Houston defender Franco Escobar, doubling LAFC’s lead with little time remaining.

The own-goal would be all LAFC needed to see out the dying minutes, and collect their Western Conference crown.

Steve Cherundolo’s side will square off with Columbus next weekend in MLS Cup Final.

Crew crowned Eastern Conference champions after extra-time

Scorers: Vaquez 14′, Acosta 45+2′ ; Powell (OG) 75′, Rossi 86′, Ramirez 115′

Columbus Crew came from two goals down to snatch a thrilling win away to bitter rivals FC Cincinnati and book their spot in the MLS Cup Final.

While it was the Crew who dominated the ball in opening exchanges, they were sucker-punched on the break just before the 15 minute mark.

A superb Aaron Boupendza cross found striker partner Brandon Vazquez darting across the box, and the USA international turned before firing a driven shot into the bottom corner to set TQL Stadium alight.

It looked as if the Crew would head into the halftime break still in touching distance of their rivals, but the hosts doubled their lead with last kick of the opening 45 minutes.

Lucinao Acosta capped off a sensational free-kick routine by sending his curling effort in past the keeper and potentially put a dagger in the heart of Columbus.

The tie was reignited in the final 15 minutes however, when a Julian Gressel cross bounced into the back of the net off of a Cincinnati player to cut the hosts’ lead in half.

The air was taken out of TQL Stadium in the closing exchanges when Diego Rossi pounced on a loose ball in the box to stab home and reclaim parity, sending the game into extra-time in dramatic fashion.

The final twist came in the 115th minute when Cucho Hernández headed across the box to pick out strike partner Christian Ramirez, who headed home the winning goal for the Crew, sparking wild scenes of jubilation in the away end of the stadium.