Columbus Crew SC

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Crew snatch late draw, end Quakes’ winning streak (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): New England Revolution fell to defeat earlier Saturday evening, but San Jose Earthquakes avoided the same fate in the night’s final game, although Matias Almeyda’s side will feel they left plenty of the table after holding a lead inside the game’s final half-hour but ultimately failing to see if across the finish line. Magnus Eriksson put San Jose ahead just before halftime, but Columbus dominated the run of play in the second half and were fully deserving of the point, if not more. Gyasi Zardes equalized in the 65th minute, preventing San Jose from becoming the second team in MLS to reach the 40-point mark this season. Alas, they sit second in the Western Conference anyway and have lost just one of their last 12 games (eight wins).

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Three moments that mattered

41′ — Eriksson converts from the spot for 1-0 — It took 23 games, but the Quakes finally earned — and converted — their first penalty kick of the 2019 season.

65′ — Zardes pulls Columbus level with an unstoppable header — Zardes is an excellent finished with his head, so maybe defenders shouldn’t peel away from him at the top of the six-yard box. It’s just a thought.

90’+3 — Room denies Wondolowski with time winding down — Eloy Room was asked to save the day on a number of occasions late in the game, and he did so each and every time, including a stellar save against Chris Wondolowski.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Eloy Room

Goalscorers: Eriksson (41′ – PK), Zardes (65′)

FOLLOW: ATLUTD host LA Galaxy to begin 9-game MLS Saturday

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Saturday’s slate of MLS fixtures is set to kick off in just under an hour, and the big matchup of the day comes flying out of the starting gate right away: Atlanta United (second place, Eastern Conference) hosting LA Galaxy (third place, Western Conference) in front of an expected crowd of 70,000 fans inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

[ FOLLOW: MLS scoreboard, for the next 8 hours ]

The visitors will be without superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic (suspended), though the big Swede might have sat this one out anyway due to the artificial turf playing surface in Atlanta, making the already uphill battle that much tougher. Efrain Alvarez and Diego Polenta are also suspended, leaving Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side somewhat shorthanded to face the defending champions.

The two hottest teams in MLS, New England Revolution (11 games unbeaten) and San Jose Earthquakes (one defeat in 11 games), are also in action on Saturday. The Revs will host runaway Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles FC in the biggest test of Bruce Arena’s tenure to date, while Matias Almeyda’s Quakes will host a quickly sinking Columbus Crew SC side (eight losses in 12 games, including 10 without a win).

Hit the link above to follow along with all of the day’s action, and check back on PST throughout the day for recaps and highlights of the most consequential matchups.

Saturday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. LA Galaxy — 5 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Toronto FC — 5 p.m. ET
New England Revolution v. Los Angeles FC — 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. FC Dallas — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. Vancouver Whitecaps 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo v. Chicago Fire — 9 p.m. ET
Colorado Rapids v. Montreal Impact — 9 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Columbus Crew SC — 10 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake v. New York City FC — 10 p.m. ET

MLS – East: Red Bulls snatch Shield; Crew SC grab last spot (video)

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The final day of the 2018 regular season couldn’t have gone any better for the New York Red Bulls — or any worse for Atlanta United.

[ West: SKC finish 1st; Sounders sneak into 2nd; Galaxy crash out ]

With the Supporters’ Shield — along with all kinds of seeding, and the sixth and final playoff spot — on the line, this is how the final Eastern Conference’s final day played out…

Supporters’ Shield: Toronto FC take an early lead on first-place Atlanta United. Atlanta holding onto top spot by virtue of third tiebreaker, goals scored (69-61).

Supporters’ Shield: Red Bulls win a penalty kick, but Derrick Ettiene’s effort is saved. Red Bulls remain second on goals-scored tiebreaker.

Supporters’ Shield: Toronto score again. ATLUTD’s goal differential drops to +27, sending Red Bulls into first.

Third-place race: New York City FC restore their two-goal lead on Philadelphia Union. D.C. United currently sitting fourth, by a single point.

Supporters’ Shield: Red Bulls break through at long last. Derrick Etienne gives his side a two-point cushion back to Atlanta.

Sixth-place race: After a lengthy weather delay, Columbus Crew SC are first on the board against Minnesota United. Thanks to Philadelphia’s struggles, Gregg Berhalter’s side sits fifth.

Supporters’ Shield: Josef Martinez pulls Atlanta back to 2-1, but they need two more with the Red Bulls leading.

Supporters’ Shield: Before Atlanta could get a second, Toronto got a third. That’s the Supporters’ Shield all but sewn

Supporters’ Shield: And a fourth.

After head coach Jesse Marsch departed in the summer, Chris Armas took over a Shield-contending team and finished the job.

Crew SC to remain in Columbus under new ownership

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UPDATE: MLS, along with the various other parties involved, released a statement that confirms negotiations are ongoing with the group led by the Haslams, but emphasized the fact that nothing has been finalized and much work is still to be done.

Nearly one year to the day after Anthony Precourt announced his intentions to relocate Columbus Crew SC to Austin, Tex., the MLS franchise is expected to remain in the Ohio capital under new ownership, according to multiple reports on Friday.

[ MORE: USMNT loses to Colombia | Player ratings | Three things ]

An official announcement is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET, at which time many more details will be made available.

The existing Crew SC franchise will reportedly be purchased by a group that includes the Haslam family — spearheaded by Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns — from Precourt Sports Ventures.

Joint Statement from the Columbus Partnership, Pete Edwards, Jr. and Dee and Jimmy Haslam on forming alliance to keep Crew in Columbus:

“While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with the League to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

Precourt is still expected to pursue an MLS franchise — and a stadium deal — in Austin, only now it is likely to be an expansion team.

Ohio’s attorney general and the city of Columbus filed a lawsuit earlier this year in an attempt to prevent Precourt from moving the team to Austin. The lawsuit cited a law that prohibits teams which have received public money from relocating unless certain conditions are met. It was enacted after the (original) Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996.

Josef Martinez ties MLS record with 27th goal in 2018 (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Josef Martinez isn’t quite the single-season MLS goals king, though he will be very soon after tying the league’s all-time mark on Sunday. Martinez bagged the opening goal in Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over Columbus Crew SC to take his 2018 tally to 27 goals (tying Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips, chronologically). The calendar still says August, by the way. Atlanta — and Martinez — have played just 25 games this season, meaning Martinez could very well take his tally into the mid-30s. It’s a record that could stand for quite some time, should MLS stick with the current 34-game regular-season schedule. Back to the game itself, Gyasi Zardes brought Columbus level five minutes into the second half, but Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron — just two of Atlanta’s other dynamite South American attackers — each bagged a goal inside the game’s final 15 minutes to push Tata Martino’s side, which is now unbeaten is six league games (four wins, two draws), back atop the Supporters’ Shield race. Their lead is currently three points, though the second-place New York Red Bulls have a game in hand and would retake the top spot (on the wins tiebreaker) with a win over third-place New York City FC on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Report: David Moyes could become new USMNT boss ]

Three moments that mattered

31′ — Gressel sets up Martinez to tie the record — Martinez is lethal enough as a goal scorer without the opposition lazily giving the ball away inside their own half. When they do that, as Harrison Afful does here, there’s not much sense in trying to stop the Venezuelan.

76′ — Villalba goes and goes, until he scores — No one felt it necessary to step up to Villalba and make a legitimate challenge for the ball as he weaved his way roughly 50 yards across the field before tucking his left-footed strike — the game-winner — inside the far post.

82′ — Almiron hits ATL’s third, from distance — Martinez, hunting the record-breaking goal, could have so easily done the selfish thing and taken the ill-advised shot from 20 yards here, but instead he held the ball up, waited for the late-arriving run of Almiron and teed up the Paraguayan to put the game out of reach.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Hector Villalba

Goalscorers: Martinez (31′), Zardes (50′), Villalba (76′), Almiron (82′)