After stunning Toronto FC in Round One, No. 7 Nashville SC arrives at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 29 to face No. 3 Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Currently, the Black & Gold stand as the highest-remaining Eastern Conference team following losses by Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC last weekend.
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JERSEY | Crew to wear Yellow Kits on Sunday
On Sunday, Columbus will be wearing the Club's yellow uniforms.
Be sure to take advantage of the Crew SC Shop's online shopping experience featuring a Buy One, Get One FREE special on the Crew's yellow jerseys. | SHOP
PLAYOFFS | Brief Look Back at Round One
With the exception of the Seattle Sounders victory over LAFC, Caleb Porter's Crew had arguably the most impressive performance of Round One, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-2 at MAPFRE Stadium last Sunday.
Nashville SC opened eyes with a comprehensive Play-In win over Inter Miami CF and then sent shockwaves through MLS with a 1-0 win over Toronto FC in Round One Tuesday night. After several near misses, Daniel Rios scored the game-winner in the second half of extra time to ensure one of Major League Soccer's newest teams are one of the last eight teams standing in the postseason.
LAST MEETING | Crew Win 2-0 in First-Ever Regular-Season Meeting vs. Nashville
The teams have met once during the regular season, with Columbus securing a 2-0 win at MAPFRE Stadium on Sept. 19. Santos broke the stalemate five minutes into the second half and Zardes added the insurance tally in stoppage time.
After Last Week's Win, All Business for Crew Heading into Sunday
The Crew's stars shined bright in a Round One win over the New York Red Bulls. The visitors struck first, but Pedro Santos struck from the spot just three minutes later. Nagbe broke the deadlock just 23 seconds into the second half and the momentum carried into the 68th minute when Gyasi Zardes cushioned a looping header back across goal for the 3-1 lead. He latched onto a deep cross from former Red Bulls Homegrown Derrick Etienne Jr. at the back post, then supplied the eventual game-winner.
It's a win, Porter believes, is a clear statement of intent from his side to make the deepest of postseason runs.
"I really like when I walked in the locker room, just seeing the look in the guys' eyes,” Porter said. “I've been in locker rooms a lot of years and the teams that win championships, they're very business-like and that's what they looked like after the game. It was almost like they were onto the next immediately. So that's what you want to see out of your group and I thought the guys were extremely hungry."
Nashville Coming Off Historic Win
Nashville SC stunned MLS by beating a Toronto FC side that played in the MLS Cup Final three times in the last four years. The win came in extra-time, via a Rios goal in the 108th minute. But Gary Smith's team showed over the course of 120 minutes the goal was no fluke. It was far from their only scoring chance in a game they outshot Toronto FC 21-12 and Nashville had three other goals called back due to offside.
You can call it an upset, but also give the expansion side their due for an impressive victory.
Nashville is one of only two expansion teams in MLS history to advance this deep in the playoffs – the other being the Chicago Fire of 1998, who went on to win MLS Cup.
“We need a little bit of fortune and you need your players to stay healthy and available, certainly your better ones,” said Smith, himself a 2010 MLS Cup winner with Colorado. “But everyone in that locker room believes we can. Absolutely. There's not a single player in there that doesn't believe that we can get to the final and go on and win it.”