Monday’s soccer news starts in the Eastern Conference semifinals where Columbus advanced with a 2-0 win over Orlando in extra time after drawing 0-0 in regulation. Orlando’s Rodrigo Schlegel saw red in the 77th. In extra time, the Crew’s Christian Ramirez scored in the 93rd and Cucho Hernandez doubled the lead in the 118th minute. Columbus goalkeeper Patrick Schulte kept the clean sheet with three saves.
Columbus will face Cincinnati, who beat Philadelphia 1-0 at home. Yerson Mosquera scored four minutes into stoppage time and Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano recorded the shutout with four saves.
“We move on,” Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said. “Really pleased with the guys to find a way to advance. It wasn’t always the prettiest, but I thought on the night, against a very experienced team, the competing was certainly there. I thought a strong start to the game and kind of let play get away from us with going too direct and then a little bit of immaturity in the second half which is managing the game, but here we are after a victory me being a little critical. Shocker… Really happy for the guy. Good energy in the other room with what they put into tonight and being able to win in regulation.”
Houston shutout Sporting Kansas Cify 1-0 at home to advance to the Western Conference final. Franco Escobar scored in the 39th and goalkeeper Steve Clark kept the clean sheet with four saves.
“I think we’ve been used to that standard all year. We’ve been that dark horse,” Houston coach Ben Olsen said. “Even when we get compliments, it still hurts sometimes. We hear stuff and it’s good, however we’re still in that space where we’re trying to prove to everyone that we’re real. This helps though, it puts us on the map a little bit more.”
Houston will play at LAFC, who won 1-0 at Seattle in the other Western Conference semifinal. Denis Bouanga scored in the 30th and Maxime Crepeau recorded the shutout with eight saves.
“The suddenness, after a long layoff where there wasn’t any flow to the end of the year,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Losing like this certainly hurts, the opportunity was there to have another home game. Right now the guys are hurting and some of the coaching staff, some of the older guys are hurting a little bit too.”
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