After a year away, a sizzling Columbus Crew SC side are back in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Other than spell late in the first half, Crew SC were dominant in their final regular season home game of 2017, outpossessing D.C.57% to 43% while completing 83% of their passes.
That helped coach Gregg Berhalter's side clinch their first return to the postseason since reaching the 2015 MLS Cup Final. In the process, Columbus set a new club record with its 12th home win of the season and pushed its unbeaten run to eight matches.
- CLOCKWORK YELLOW: At their best, Crew SC are known for flummoxing and frustrating opponents with their possession-based football, and that happened in several sequences on Saturday night. The most obvious came on the buildup to Meram’s career-high 13th goal, which included a clever give-and-go between Artur and Federico Higuain as well as a deft dummy from Hector Jimenez. That said, Meram still had an awful lot to do for his sensational finish.
- THE LAST PEAK AT PIPA?: Knowing that Federico Higuain may be departing after the season, Crew SC fans flew a tifo in tribute to the Argentine playmaker who has called Columbus home since 2012. They still have an outside chance to take fourth place and secure a home knockout round match. Otherwise, Columbus would need to reach the conference semifinals to guarantee another home match for their captain, who registered his 10th assist of the season on Williams' opener.
Federico Higuaín climbing up the assists chart with this corner to Josh Williams!— MLS Fantasy Soccer (@MLSFantasy) September 30, 2017
That's his fourth helper in the past two matches. https://t.co/ZWeOe6cWou
- DIMINISHED RETURN: D.C. goalkeeper Steve Clark would probably rather forget his first game back in Columbus since making 100 league appearances for Crew SC as the starter from 2014-2016. Clark made three saves and wasn’t at fault for either goal. But he’s now allowed five goals in his last two games filling in for injured Bill Hamid after preserving a shutout a week ago in his D.C. debut.