The Columbus Crew snapped their six-game losing streak in dramatic fashion, taking a 3-2 victory over FC Cincinnati in a wild Hell is Real derby at Lower.com Field on Friday thanks to two late goals from substitute Miguel Berry.
It was FC Cincinnati that looked set to take what would have been a massive Heineken Rivalry Week road victory when Isaac Atanga broke a 1-1 deadlock with his first MLS goal in the 74th minute. But the visitors would find themselves unable to hold that lead or even escape with a draw, as Berry found the leveler and the game-winner in a 78-second span starting in the 81st minute, delivering the Crew three points.
Both sides logged quality chances throughout the night, starting when Crew nearly found the opener twice in a chaotic sequence just nine minutes into the contest that saw them get denied by the woodwork on both looks.
The first was a wide-open opportunity in transition from Luis Diaz off a cross from Derek Etienne Jr. which the Costa Rican winger smashed off the post. Lucas Zelarayan then collected the rebound and uncorked a curling shot that looked goal-bound for what would have been an incredible golazo, only to see it glance off the crossbar.
Zelarayan would not be denied, though, giving Columbus the lead in spectacular fashion right on the stroke of halftime. It was a vintage free kick from the dynamic Argentine, who hit a perfectly placed shot into the top corner, giving no chance to diving Cincinnati goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.
But the Crew couldn’t hold the lead into halftime, yielding the leveler to Ronald Matarrita, who came through with a highlight-reel strike of his own. The left back collected a corner kick that was headed out of the box and scorched home an unstoppable shot to the far post.
Cincinnati then stunned the home crowd with a go-ahead goal in the 74th minute through Atanga, who finished off a counterattack with a clinical strike to the far post that gave Jaap Stam’s group a great chance to see out a massive victory. But Berry tied it in the 81st after Vermeer spilled a save in front of goal, allowing for a rebound finish, then won it in the 83rd after an attempted clearance from Cincinnati deflected off the substitute’s thigh and into the net for what stood as the game-winning goal.