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2020 Major League Soccer, Eastern Conference Playoffs - Finals
  • Artur (59')

Columbus Crew beat New England Revolution to book MLS Cup final spot

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Columbus crowned MLS Eastern Conference champions (0:28)

The Columbus Crew lift the Eastern Conference trophy after defeating the New England Revolution 1-0. (0:28)

Artur scored in the 59th minute to lift the Columbus Crew SC to their third MLS Cup appearance following a 1-0 win over the visiting New England Revolution on Sunday.

Backup Andrew Tarbell made four saves for the third-seeded Crew, who will face the winner from the Minnesota United FC-Seattle Sounders FC Western Conference Final on Dec. 12.

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Matt Turner made six saves for the eighth-seeded Revolution, who were seeking their sixth MLS Cup appearance and first title.

The Crew won the MLS Cup in 2008 in Carson, Calif., and lost on their home field to the Portland Timbers in 2015.

"We're one step away,'' Crew coach Caleb Porter said. That's what I keep going back to. The job's not done. We started this tournament, we wanted to make four steps. We've made three of the four. I know the guys in that locker room, they're real happy to put the Eastern Conference championship trophy in the trophy case, and that's what it's about, but there's a much bigger trophy."

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Columbus blank New England to reach MLS Cup final

Columbus Crew will play in the final for the first time since 2015 after beating New England 1-0.

Artur's game-winner came off from a sublime layoff by defender Jonathan Mensah, who has one assist in 100 MLS regular season games.

Mensah was on the right side of the box when he took a cross from Lucas Zelarayan with his right foot and put the ball in perfect strike position for Artur to run on to it. Artur placed a shot from 16 yards.

Gyasi Zardes nearly doubled the lead three minutes but hit the crossbar with a lofted attempted.

Tarbell was playing a second straight match for Eloy Room (COVID-19 protocol). Tarbell preserved the lead with a save on Gustavo Bou in the second minute of stoppage time and another in the 95th minute on Matt Polster.

Turner was outstanding in keeping the Crew off the board until Artur's goal. Just a minute prior, he made the best of his six saves to that point, denying Zardes in front from another Zelarayan service.

In the first half, Turner made a stop on Zelarayan in the 36th minute and a diving save on a long shot by Pedro Santos.

Tarbell made his first save in the 56th minute when Adam Buksa tried to score from the left side of the box.

"We're thinking about that next game. We want to win the final and be champions,'' Porter said. "But I'm real proud of our group. It was a tough game. Turner was the man of the match, he stood on his head. Great goal that we scored. We should have scored more.''

The match was played in front of 1,500 fans at Mapfre Stadium after the first two home games were limited to family members of the players and staff.

Second-year Revs manager Bruce Arena, the winningest MLS Cup head coach with five titles (two with DC United and three with the LA Galaxy), said that his club have the base to build on moving forward.

"We made progress last year, we made progress this year," Arena said. "I think we want to continue that. In the offseason we're looking to bring in two or three players that can solidify our first eleven.

But the former U.S. men's national team manager lauded the Crew for their play on Sunday.

"On the day Columbus was the better team. I think they deserved to win the game," Arena said. "Give them credit for the goal they created, just better at anticipating plays than we were."

Arena added: "I thought on the day in the middle third of the field they were good. Not that they did anything that goes in the highlight reel but they won tackles, they anticipated plays and they were a little sharper in the middle of the field."

New England, a charter club like Columbus, has been to the MLS Cup final five times but has never won the title.