Crew 2, Mutiny 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Stern John scored two goals in a seven-minute span Sunday and the Columbus Crew beat the Tampa Bay Mutiny 2-0 in the first game of the best-of-3 MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.
John’s first goal came in the 77th minute on an assist from Brian West, who had kicked it toward Brian McBride. The ball landed at McBride’s feet, but he never touched it as John scored from 12 yards, beating Mutiny goalkeeper Scott Garlick on the left side. Garlick got a hand on the ball but wasn’t able to deflect it away from the goal.
John, whose 18 goals in the regular season tied him for the league lead, used the bottom of his foot to re-direct a free kick by Robert Warzycha past Garlick in the 84th minute.
The teams play again Friday in Tampa Bay, with a third game, if necessary, in Columbus on Oct. 27. The winner of the series plays either D.C. United or Miami in the conference finals.
Tampa Bay had an 11-5 advantage in total shots in the second half and led 17-13 in that category, but Columbus had a 5-2 lead in shots on goal. The Mutiny also committed 22 fouls, compared with eight for the Crew.
Columbus, which finished second in the Eastern Conference, had lost three straight regular season games to third-place Tampa Bay after winning the first game between the teams in April.