Gyasi Zardes and Luis Diaz scored a goal apiece in the second half and Columbus Crew SC got an own goal five minutes from the final whistle, bagging a 3-1 road victory over Atlanta United at Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Saturday.
Josef Martinez scored the lone goal of the contest for Atlanta in the 19th minute, but Columbus struck for all three of its goals after second-half kickoff to take all three points.
The hosts opened the scoring in the first half after a laser cross from Pity Martinez in the direction of a charging Josef Martinez took a redirected deflection into the net, extending the star striker's MLS-record scoring streak to 14 consecutive matches and giving the Five Stripes a 1-0 lead they would take into the halftime break.
Zardes found the equalizer in the 53rd minute, however, cashing home a rebound finish to the top corner after Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a reaction save on a shot from Diaz.
Diaz then found the go-ahead tally for the visitors on the hour mark, slotting home a class finish from just inside the area past Guzan to the far post, giving Crew SC the 2-1 second-half lead and shocking the home crowd.
Crew SC got its final tally of the evening in the 85th minute after a botched clearance attempt from Atlanta center back Miles Robinson snuck past Guzan and into the goal, sealing the 3-1 final.
- 19' - ATL - Josef Martinez | WATCH
- 53' - CLB - Gyasi Zardes | WATCH
- 60' - CLB - Luis Diaz | WATCH
- 85' - CLB - Miles Robinson (OG) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It doesn't do much to help the Crew's faint playoff hopes, but it was nonetheless an encouraging performance for Caleb Porter's men in one of the league's toughest venues. They can build on this performance as they look to close out the stretch run of the season on a positive note. Atlanta still find themselves comfortably above the playoff line at 15-11-3 and 48 points, but they were soundly outplayed for much of the match. Their shot at claiming the No. 1 seed in the East may have come and gone on Saturday as they are now nine points behind NYCFC.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Diaz's goal was a gorgeous finish and the culmination of a fantastic response from Columbus coming out of the halftime locker room.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: On that note, Diaz also gets the nod here for his second-half heroics. The Costa Rican now has two goals and three assists in 10 games on the season.