COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Crew didn’t know how to react following the 5-4 loss on penalty kicks to Colorado on Saturday in Crew Stadium.
Columbus won the game 2-1 in regulation but because it lost the first game of the total-goals Eastern Conference semifinal series 1-0 at Colorado the aggregate was still tied at 2-2 after a 30-minute overtime period.
Colorado hit all five PKs before Brian Carroll missed the Crew’s fifth attempt to send the Rapids to the conference final on Nov. 13 at home vs. San Jose.
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“It’s weird to actually win the game then aggregate takes you to penalties,” Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “It’s a weird feeling to lose on penalties after winning the game.”
For the second straight year, a visiting team celebrated in Crew Stadium. The circumstances were similar. Last season, Real Salt Lake defeated the Crew 1-0 at home in Game 1.
In the return leg, the Crew took a 2-0 lead and had the aggregate advantage before RSL scored three times.
On Saturday, Columbus also led 2-0 on goals by Eddie Gaven in the 22nd minute and Robbie Rogers in the 70th. Conor Casey tied the aggregate for Colorado in the 84th minute to set up a 30-minute overtime that was scoreless.
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“We won but we lost,” Rogers said. “We were prepared for that. We knew we had to win by two goals or penalties.”
If there was any positive for the Crew, it was that it took the Rapids penalty kicks to down the higher seed.
“Last year Salt Lake outplayed us in regular team here. They deserved it,” Rogers said.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha has seen his team exit in the first round two straight years after successful regular seasons.
“Last year, we lost both games in the playoffs,” he said. “This year we won 2-1 at home and lost on penalty kicks. That’s a step forward for us compared with last year."