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Atlanta United forces game three with 4-2 victory over Columbus Crew

The Five Stripes prolong their MLS Cup Playoff run with an important win at home

MLS: MLS Cup Eastern Conference First Round-Game 2-Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United took care of business on Tuesday with a convincing 4-2 win over the Columbus Crew in game two of the series.

The series will now go back to Columbus for the final and decisive game of the series to determine who advances to the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the winner of the series between Nashville SC and Orlando City SC.

After Thiago Almada returned from his suspension, Gonzalo Pineda went back to the typical 4-2-3-1 formation the team is used to. Lennon’s role as a free-roaming attacking fullback could potentially help Atlanta create overloads in the attacking and middle thirds.

The game got off to an energetic start with both teams employing a high press and finding space in the final third to create chances. Both Atlanta and Columbus are teams that want the ball, but it was the Five Stripes that controlled the game in the first half with 53.9% possession. Atlanta also posted more shots than the Black and Gold with four out of seven on target compared to the vistors’ two of four.

The MLS Newcomer of the Year drew first blood in the 38th minute by meeting a Brooks Lennon cross with a power header. Giorgos Giakoumakis had been denied several opportunities by the offside flag earlier in the game, but the Greek wouldn’t be denied forever. His 18th goal of the year put Atlanta in the driver’s seat with a 1-0 lead.

The lead lasted mere minutes, however, as a miscommunication in midfield led to a turnover which allowed Cucho Hernandez to get a shot to Guzan’s near post. The Colombian now has four goals against the Five Stripes this season. The match was level at 1-1 after 45 minutes of play.

But the hosts weren’t going to the locker room quietly. A beautiful sequence between Saba Lobjanidze and Giakoumakis resulted in Xande Silva roofing a shot past Patrick Shulte to reestablish the lead in first half stoppage time. The Portuguese winger pulled out a Spiderman mask to celebrate his third goal with the club as the Five Stripes ended the half with a 2-1 lead.

The second half saw an equal amount of exciting action at both ends of the field and goals for both sides.

Edwin Mosquera made it a two-goal lead with a rocket to the top corner after a pass-and-go with Giakoumakis inside the box. The Colombian forward’s fourth goal for the Five Stripes made it a 3-1 game in the 83rd minute.

Atlanta’s World Champion, Thiago Almada, put the matter beyond doubt with a fourth goal in the 88th minute. The Argentine put a bow on the win with his 13th goal of the season across all competitions.

The Crew managed to pull one back in stoppage time thanks to a header by Maximillian Arfsten. The goal didn’t change the result, however, as the fulltime whistle blew to seal the win for Atlanta United.

Atlanta United will play game three at Field in Columbus on Sunday, Nov. 12.

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments below.