Columbus Crew SC knew the situation coming into Decision Day. A win, along with some help from other teams, and second place in the Eastern Conference, and free passage beyond the knockout round of the MLS Cup playoffs was there for the taking.
The Black & Gold got the help the team needed — the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-0 and Toronto FC grabbed a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Atlanta United — but Crew SC couldn’t find the third goal that would do the trick in a 2-2 draw with New York City FC.
So where does that leave things for the MLS Cup playoffs?
Crew SC finishes the 2017 regular season with 54 points and in fifth place in the East. This means Columbus will travel to Atlanta in the knockout round Thursday 7:00 pm. ET on ESPN2. The Fire will host the New York Red Bulls, Wednesday 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 in the other knockout round match, while the Supporter’s Shield winners Toronto and New York City will wait for their opponents in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
In the Western Conference, things shaped out as follows:
The Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders, both with one point fewer than Crew SC, advance straight to the conference semifinals. The Vancouver Whitecaps will host the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET (UniMas) while the Dynamo welcome Sporting Kanas City on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET. (UniMas).
From a Black & Gold perspective, the matchup with United is going to be a tough one to begin a postseason run.
Crew SC played the Five Stripes twice this season. The first meeting on June 17, in Atlanta, was a 3-1 win for United. The two sides met two weeks later in Columbus and the visitors walked out 2-0 victors.
That was the regular season though and the postseason is a different animal.
If Crew SC can navigate through the East and make the MLS Cup Final, the Black & Gold are guaranteed to host the Final.
Stay tune to Massive Report throughout the week as we will have all the coverage leading into the the playoff game.