When Kei Kamara inexplicably called off Federico Higuain from taking a series-tying penalty kick on Sunday, the Columbus Crew striker looked like he would wind up being the goat when his poorly-taken penalty was saved.
Kamara’s Crew teammate, Ethan Finlay, gave Kamara a chance for redemption by scoring a vital series-tying goal just 10 minutes later, which set up Kamara for his own special moment in stoppage time of a 120-minute thriller at MAPFRE Stadium.
Kamara skied up to head home a Cedrick Mabwati cross in the 111th minute to help give the Crew the Eastern Conference semifinal series victory over the Montreal Impact, 4-3 on aggregate.
The win propels the Crew to the Eastern Conference final, where they will face the New York Red Bulls.
The Impact looked like they might knock off the Crew when Dilly Duka scored a 40th- minute goal that not only canceled out Kamara’s 4th-minute goal, but gave Montreal a crucial away goal, and the series lead after the Impact 2-1 first-leg victory.
Columbus had a chance to equalize in the 67th minute after a controversial penalty call against Laurent Ciman gave the Crew a penalty kick. Federico Higuain had been the Crew’s regular penalty taker, but Kamara called Higuain off and took the penalty attempt. Montreal’s Evan Bush saved Kamara’s penalty easily.
Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made a pair of second-half substitutions to try and grab a series equalizer, with Jack McInerney and Mabwati entering shortly after Kamara’s penalty miss. The pair helped revive the Crew attack, with McInerney sparking the sequence that led to the series-equalizing goal when he latched onto a Kei Kamara pass and sent a hard shot at goal that Bush saved. Finlay pounced on the rebound to make the score 2-1 and give the momentum back to the Crew.
The Crew will face the Red Bulls in the East finals, with the first leg taking place at MAPFRE Stadium on Nov. 22. The second leg will be played at Red Bull Arena on Nov. 29.
What did you think of the match? Who impressed you the most for the Crew? Who do you see winning the East final?
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