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Crew 2 squander late lead, lose to FC Cincinnati 2 in shootout

The Black & Gold fell in the rivalry match despite multiple leads.

Courtesy of Columbus Crew 2

Columbus Crew 2 has been the best team in the Eastern Conference for most of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season. Entering Sunday, the Black & Gold looked to extend the team’s lead at the top of the East in a road match against FC Cincinnati 2. But after multiple leads were squandered and the score was 3-3 at the end of regulation, Columbus lost its third penalty shootout of the season, 4-2.

Crew 2 was without MLS NEXT Pro’s leading goalscorer Jacen Russell-Rowe for the match as he was with the first team for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids. The Black & Gold reserve side is 13-1 in games Russell-Rowe plays this year but fell to 0-3-1 in matches he missed on Sunday.

Columbus began this game on the front foot. Crew 2 had the better opportunities to open up the match. And in the 16th minute, a moment of set piece brilliance gave the Black & Gold their first lead.

Following a foul near the top corner of the penalty area, midfielders Michael Vang and Isaiah Parente stood over the ball. Parente played a short pass to midfielder Sean Zawadzki, who then one-touched a pass into the path of captain Marco Micaletto. Micaletto was able to first-time finish the pass from Zawadzki, giving Columbus a 1-0 lead early in the match.

Crew 2 kept the pressure up through the remainder of the first half. During first half stoppage time, Black & Gold head coach Laurent Courtois was sent off following a hard tackle that he believed should have earned the Cincinnati 2 player a second yellow card.

Minutes later, Columbus doubled the lead through Parente on the counter attack. The play started with wing back Jake Morris dribbling up the field and finding Micaletto. Morris got the ball back and played in a cross to Parente who made no mistake, tucking the ball into the net for a 2-0 halftime advantage.

Unfortunately, the second half did not go as well for the visitors. FC Cincinnati 2 came out of the halftime break with more energy and in the 66th minute, things started to get interesting.

The home team cut Black & Gold’s lead in half when forward Calvin Harris rounded Columbus goalkeeper Patrick Schulte and slot the ball home.

Not even 10 minutes later, Cincinnati equalized when forward Arquimides Ordóñez got behind the Crew 2 defend and was about to get the ball around the on-rushing Schulte to just put it over the line and make the score 2-2.

The Black & Gold took the lead late in the match following a hard tackle in the penalty box. Parente stepped up to score his second of the game from the spot, giving Columbus a 3-2 lead in second half stoppage time.

But the fun was not over. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Cincinnati 2 was awarded a late penalty kick of their own. Harris would make no mistake, tying the game late with his second of the match.

With the score tied 3-3, each team received a point in the standings and the match went to penalty kicks to determine who got an additional point.

In the shootout, FC Cincinnati 2 made all of the team’s spot kicks, while Crew 2 had twoo penalties saved. It was the third time this year the Black & Gold have gone to a shootout and a third loss of that extra point.

Up next for Columbus is a trip to face Orlando City B next Saturday at Osceola Heritage Park. The kick off is set for 7 p.m. EST. All MLS Next Pro matches can be streamed live at mlsnextpro.com.