COLUMBUS – Brian Carroll stood alone at the spot after missing the penalty kick that sent Colorado to the Eastern Conference Championship.
His miss enabled the Rapids to win the total-goals series 3-2 despite losing the second game 2-1 to the Crew on Saturday in Crew Stadium. The Rapids claimed the shootout 5-4.
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Colorado host San Jose on Nov. 13.
Carroll was on an island of despair for a moment before teammates came over to hug him and offer words of encouragement.
“The guys have been great in helping me out and saying how good it is to step up and be the one to want to take that,” Carroll said.
By the time he reached the locker room he was among a band of brothers.
“BC’s been the lynchpin for this team,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “If we had to do it again I would pick BC again. In training he nailed every single one perfect and I told him that. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. It was unlucky for one of the greatest guys.”
Gruenebaum had some misfortune of his own in the penalty kicks. The backup, who became the starter when William Hesmer fractured his right shoulder in the regular-season finale, did not stop any of the five attempts but got a hand on the second attempt by Macoumba Kandji. However, he let the ball slip past him.
“PK shootouts are a good time,” Gruenebaum said. “Normally I come out the hero in many ways making a few saves. I was expecting to make at least one.”
The Crew had at least six great chances in the opening segments to tie the aggregate after losing Game 1 by a 1-0 count at Colorado, but they only got a score by Eddie Gaven in the 22nd minute.
“We had chances in the first half. We got only one,” forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “We know what we were doing on the field today. Everyone in the stadium saw a good team play. We are better than Colorado but they make the second round. Congratulations to them.’
When Robbie Rogers scored for the first time since May 8 in the 70th minute, the Crew had 2-0 lead in the game and were up a goal in the aggregate.
Conor Casey then scored off a pass from Omar Cummings in the 84th minute to send the game to a 30-minute overtime and eventually penalties.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha chose Schelotto, Jason Garey, Gaven, Eric Brunner and Carroll in that order.
“We practiced penalties all week,” Warzycha said. “Whoever is shooting best or more confident, that’s who we decided to go with.”
Carroll stepped up but fired well over the goal.
“He’s not the reason why we lost the game,” Warzycha said. “He’s played well all season."
Carroll didn’t duck media questions in the quiet locker room.
“I picked my spot like I usually do in training and just got under it,” he said.
He added that the movement by goalkeeper Matt Pickens was not a distraction.
“I looked at him as I approached but I picked my spot where I wanted to go,” Carroll said. “I missed it. That’s all there is to it.
“I didn’t have a great feeling about it when it left my foot,” he added. “That’s how it goes. I stepped up. I missed it. We’re not moving on.”
He had the support of his teammates.
“That doesn’t define who you are in your career,” Rogers said. “He’s a great guy and a great player. He’ll get over it. He’s one of the leaders of the team.”