Two stories that have emerged during the MLS is Back Tournament continued their courses Tuesday night. Columbus Crew SC remained perfect in the competition, while Atlanta United, who befuddled many in Orlando for the wrong reasons, were bounced following Crew SC’s 1-0 victory in both teams’ final match of Group E Tuesday night.
Caleb Porter’s side, which has yet to concede and has the best goal differential in the competition, topped the group with nine points. Frank de Boer’s Five Stripes, meanwhile, failed to score once and finished at the bottom. They joined Inter Miami CF as the only team eliminated from the MLS is Back Tournament as of the final whistle.
Crew SC took a deserved lead in the 18th minute as Youness Mokhtar put a deflected shot off a sliding Miles Robinson after an unchallenged Milton Valenzuela played the low cross into the box. It should have been Columbus' second goal, but Luis Diaz put his open shot in the 18-yard box off the outside netting in the ninth minute.
Mokhtar, however, was off before halftime with a leg injury, replaced by Derrick Etienne.
The best chance at an equalizer for Atlanta came late, but Pity Martinez put his free kick over the Crew SC wall and just wide of goalkeepr Andrew Tarbell's net. Tarbell, who was making his Crew SC debut after Eloy Room suffered a hamstring injury in training, also came up with two big saves moments later to secure the three points for his team.
- 18’ — Youness Mokhtar | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Maybe that Sergio Busquets comparison wasn't so far-fetched after all, as he continued to astound in Orlando. Darlington Nagbe completed 100 percent of his passes —all 43. That goes along with eight defensive actions as well, six of which were recoveries.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Mickey Mouse might be the main man on most days at Disney, but Caleb Porter has been the magic man throughout the tournament. He made five changes after Round 1 and seven more entering this match. And no matter who steps on the field, Columbus have controlled each match they’ve played. Atlanta had nothing in attack, in this game and throughout the tournament.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Mokhtar’s goal finished a 19-pass sequence, which surely will make Porter happy. Check it all out here.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: It’s been four months between their first two games back in March and their next three and Crew SC still have yet to trail in a match this season.