Giorgos Giakoumakis had a goal and two assists and Atlanta United beat the Columbus Crew 4-2 on Tuesday night to force a deciding game in the best-of-three series.
Atlanta (14-9-12) snapped a four-game winless stretch to continue its MLS playoff run at Columbus (16-10-9) on Sunday — with the winner clinching a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Giakoumakis, who was named the MLS newcomer of the year with 17 goals, opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Giakoumakis was left alone inside the box and headed home Brooks Lennon’s bending cross.
Columbus star Cucho Hernández, who scored both of the Crew’s goals in their win on Wednesday, answered seven minutes later to tie it at 1-all. But Atlanta took a 2-1 lead into the break after Xande Silva scored in stoppage time, off an assist by Giakoumakis.
Edwin Mosquera and Thiago Almada each scored five-minutes apart late in the second half for a 4-1 lead. Columbus forward Max Arfsten capped the scoring in second-half stoppage time.
The Crew lost for the first time in their last five visits to Atlanta. Columbus has not won any of its last 16 road matches in the MLS playoffs, last recording an away postseason win in the 2002 quarterfinals at San Jose.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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