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Back-to-back victories over D.C. leave the Crew on top of the MLS and in the Cup final

A rough stretch of games for the Crew had many wondering if they had much left in the tank to finish the season. With travel for the Champions League, a stretch of away games in the regular season, and even U.S. Open Cup games looming, the toughest seemed ahead of the club.

Yet after the dust settled in a hectic week of back-to-back games against D.C. United, the Crew were left on top of the eastern conference by seven points, and found themselves tied with the L.A. Galaxy at the top of the MLS for the Supporters Shield.

Wednesday”s win did not come easy for the Crew. 88 minutes into the game, the Crew found themselves down 1-0, and unable to find offense. The advantage they did have, however, was an 11 to 10 man advantage thanks to a red card given to the early goal-scorer for D.C. Pablo Hernandez in the 59th minute.

In the 89th minute, with the game winding down, the Crew found their spark. A cross that seemed long found Andy Iro at the edge of the six yard box, and the young defender calmly buried a shot in the United net, tying the game in the dying moments. D.C. could not respond, and the teams went to overtime to decide who would be playing in the final.

Energized by the drama, the Crew dominated possession in the beginning of the first overtime period. Pushing ahead, a rough tackle from Carey Talley on the surging Steven Lenhart gave the Crew a penalty kick, and the chance to take the lead. Guillermo Barros Schelotto took advantage, and gave the Crew the lead. D.C. was unable to respond, and after 120 minutes, the Crew earned a spot in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Saturday”s match was not nearly as exciting, but despite playing in their fourth match in a 12-day span, the Crew once again showed their toughness.

In what could be considered a microcosm for the Crew, their leader online casino sign up bonus and perhaps most consistent player Schelotto once again found a way to get to the net in the 23rd minute. Pressuring a United back-pass to keeper Bill Hamid, Schelotto did not allow the keeper to control the ball, forcing a whiff on a clearance.

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Schelotto calmly gathered the ball and put a shot into the back of the net, giving the Crew a key early game lead that they would not give up. Coach Robert Warzycha loves to play defensively (a strength of the team), and took the rest of the game as his opportunity. Even in a more defensive mode, the Crew had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead, but ended the game in a 1-0 win.

On the opposite coast, the western conference-leading L.A. Galaxy had just finished in a tie with the Chicago Fire, earning them only one point and bringing their total to 44 points on the season, the same total that the Crew pulled to with their victory.

This sets up a Hollywood (literally) matchup, as the two winningest teams in the league will meet this Saturday the 11th at the Home Depot Center, where the Supporters Shield could be on the line.

— Andrew King, Columbus Wired

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