Crew 2, MetroStars 1, Shootout
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Stern John scored in regulation and added the winning shootout goal Saturday night as the Columbus Crew beat New York-New Jersey 2-1 to take the best-of-3 MLS first-round series 2-0.
John, the MLS scoring leader, tied it at 1 in the 22nd minute.
In the shootout, he drilled a shot just inside the right post to give the Crew a 3-1 advantage in the fourth round. Bill Thompson and Thomas Dooley also scored for the Crew in the shootout.
Mike Sorber scored in the fourth round for the MetroStars, and the Crew’s Andy Williams and the MetroStars’ Mike Petke missed in the fifth round.
The Crew, 0-5 in shootouts during the regular season, will face the winner of the D.C. United-Miami series in the Eastern Conference final.
The MetroStars, who also got a shootout goal from Tab Ramos, were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for the second time in three seasons. They did not qualify for postseason play in 1997.
The MetroStars took a 1-0 lead on Ramos’ free kick in the 13th minute.
Ramos took a quick restart after Eduardo Hurtado was pulled down just outside the box by Columbus defender Ricardo Iribarren. Ramos’ quick kick caught the Crew by surprise as they tried to set up a wall, and Ramos was successful in curling the ball just inside the right post.
The Crew equalized nine minutes later _ just moments after John was knocked down by Alexi Lalas. Down for a minute or two, John bounced up, went to the middle of the field and dashed into the penalty area to head in the ensuing free kick from Williams.