Crew bounce Wizards, advance to semifinal
The Columbus Crew are one victory from their first appearance in the MLS Cup.
Brad Evans and Robbie Rogers scored to give host Columbus a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards last night and a place in the semifinals.
The teams tied, 1-1, in the first leg of the two-game, total-goals quarterfinal last weekend in Kansas City. With its two goals last night, Columbus earned a 3-1 aggregate victory.
The Crew will play the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference final Thursday at Columbus.
Evans's goal came in the seventh minute after Crew midfielder Brian Carroll lobbed a long pass over the Kansas City defensive line and into Evans's path. Evans chipped the ball over Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who had rushed off his line in an effort to reduce Evans's shooting angle.
The ball bounced once inside the 6-yard box before crossing the goal line, and Evans said he thought it was heading wide.
"It took a fortunate bounce," Evans said. "I kind of got lucky in that sense."
Rogers doubled the Crew's lead in the 57th minute, after pretty passes from Alejandro Moreno and Guillermo Barros Schelotto inside the Wizards' penalty area gave Rogers space for a left-footed shot that beat Hartman.
"We scored two timely goals. We were able to exploit the space behind the defense," said Crew coach Sigi Schmid.
Columbus frustrated Kansas City's attackers throughout the game, surrendering few quality scoring opportunities.
Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad sent a shot toward goal in the closing seconds of the first half that got past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper William Hesmer, but was a yard wide of the left goalpost.
Columbus finished the regular season with a league-best 57 points, 17 points ahead of the Wizards.
Premier League - Liverpool and Arsenal returned to winning ways to assert their title credentials. Robbie Keane scored his first two league goals since joining Liverpool in the offseason in a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. Samir Nasri also had a double, leading Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over defending champion Manchester United that snapped a three-match winless streak.
Liverpool leads the standings by 3 points ahead of Chelsea, which is at Blackburn today. The Gunners moved over United into third, 6 points behind Liverpool.