Pedros Santos and Gyasi Zardes scored three minutes apart early in overtime and the Columbus Crew beat expansion Nashville SC 2-0 on Sunday to advance to the MLS Eastern Conference finals.
The third-seeded Crew will host eighth-seeded New England next Sunday for a spot in the MLS Cup.The Revolution beat Orlando City 3-1 earlier Sunday.
Santos scored in the 99th minute off a feed from Zardes near the center of the net, ending seventh-seeded Nashville’s shutout streak at more than 200 minutes.
Zardes struck in the 102nd minute on a breakaway off Luis Díaz’s deft lead pass.
The win capped a challenging week for Columbus, which had seven players test positive for COVID-19 and were unavailable for the match. Because of the cases, the club isolated the infected players and scaled back training for the match to reduce further spread.
“It was a very challenging week in a very challenging year,” Columbus head coach Caleb Porter said postgame at MAPFRE Stadium Sunday. “I never had a week like this in my life, in my coaching career. But we have had some moments this year that were similar. And so I think the mentality of the team, I just can't say enough about this group, how resilient they are, how they're able to adapt, how they're able to just keep focused. And I've never been more proud of a group.”