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Defensive mistakes end Columbus Crew’s U.S. Open Cup run

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The last time Atlanta United came to Columbus, rain nearly cancelled the game. Tuesday night was no better, with the Crew and United battling the weather as well as each other during a US Open Cup Round of 16 matchup. The result was different, as Atlanta got revenge for the MLS loss and beat the Crew 3-2.

Atlanta dominated the first half as Columbus looked to be sleepwalking. David Guzman had a heavy touch on defense, letting Brandon Vazquez have a free chance on goal in just the fifth minute. Vazquez made the most of it, putting the ball in a spot where keeper Jon Kempin had no chance to make a save. Less than ten minutes later, United struck again when Miles Robinson was left completely unmarked on a corner kick and headed in a goal. Ezequiel Barco got the assist.

The Crew suddenly showed life as the first half came to a close. Luis Argudo sent a cross near the end line to David Accam, who scored his second goal of the tournament. The play riled up Atlanta players, as Darlington Nagbe was down with an apparent injury at the top of the box when the goal was scored. They wanted Columbus to kick the ball out, but the referee allowed play to continue. The ball went over the injured Nagbe to Argudo on the buildup to the goal.

Rain started to fall just as halftime hit, and by the time the teams retook the field, it was pouring. The poor playing field leveled the disparity between the two teams, but it looked like Atlanta had sealed up the game in the 65th minute when Brandon Vazquez scored again on a tight angle shot after defender Alex Crognale slipped in the rain. The two goal lead didn’t last long, as Columbus answered in the 71st minute when Waylon Francis sent the ball in off of Brad Guzan. Francis, who was just subbed in mere seconds before, didn’t get official credit as the goal went down as an own goal.

In the 75th minute, the game was delayed for 49 minutes due to lightning in the area.

After the weather cleared up, Columbus came out fighting hard for an equalizer. Atlanta subbed out Vazquez for Florentine Pogba in the 81st minute to absorb the Crew attack, and were able to bunker down for the win. 

Atlanta advances to play the winner of FC Cincinnati vs. St Louis FC (USL). Columbus returns to MLS action Sunday against Sporting Kansas City.

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