Gyasi Zardes scored his 20th purpose of the yr and the Columbus Crew fought off fatigue and the Purple Bulls, 1-Zero, on Sunday within the first leg of their Japanese Convention semifinal sequence.
The second leg is Sunday at Purple Bull Area in Harrison, N.J.
Zardes scored the sport’s solely purpose within the 61st minute, a sliding end of a back-heel go from the second-half substitute Federico Higuain. Higuain had been rested within the first half by Columbus Coach Gregg Berhalter, a daring little bit of restraint prompted by the Crew’s taxing first-round win over D.C. United in a penalty-kick shootout on Thursday evening.
The Purple Bulls, the Supporters’ Protect winners after posting the perfect file within the common season, had not performed since final Sunday.
The winner was Zardes’s third profession postseason purpose. Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen preserved his crew’s first-leg benefit by pushing away Bradley Wright-Phillips’s glancing header in stoppage time.
The Purple Bulls’ greatest scoring likelihood earlier than that got here within the 27th minute, when Tim Parker headed a nook kick off the submit. The ball then deflected off Steffen and was cleared away.
The Purple Bulls had earned a bye following their third Supporters’ Protect title in six seasons. The Crew are the one Japanese Convention crew the Purple Bulls haven’t crushed this yr.
The groups have met three earlier instances within the postseason, with the Crew profitable each.