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FC Cincinnati CIN
2
Brandon Vázquez 13',Luciano Acosta 47'
Columbus Crew CRW
3
Alvas Powell 74' (pp),Diego Rossi 85',Christian Ramirez 114'
Finished

FC Cincinnati - Columbus Crew summary: score, goals and highlights | MLS Cup Playoffs

Update:
Dec 2, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Columbus Crew midfielder Darlington Nagbe (center) holds the Eastern Conference Trophy after winning the MLS Eastern Conference Final against FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

FC Cincinnati - Columbus Crew: As it happened

Columbus Crew celebrate Conference triumph

They had to do it the hard way, but Columbus Crew are Eastern Conference champions after a stunning comeback victory against FC Cincinnati. Wilfried Nancy's side dominated much of the play in the first half but found themselves two goals behind at the break. 

But two goals late in the second half forced extra time and Christian Ramirez popped up in the final minutes to fire the Crew ahead. A famous victory for Columbus, who will now host MLS Cup next weekend. 

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Columbus Crew are Eastern Conference champions

They were 2-0 down, away from home, against the Number One seed. And yet, Columbus Crew kept battling and recorded a historic 3-2 victory against their Ohio rivals. 

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WATCH: Columbus Crew complete sensational comeback

This is the moment that Christian Ramirez poked home a loose ball to edge his team in front. Just as he did in the semi-final against Orlando, Ramirez came off the bench to score the crucial goal for his team. 

What a story for Columbus!

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120

FULL TIME!

Columbus Crew are Eastern Conference champions after a stunning comeback to win 3-2 at Cincinnati!

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120+2

Schulte punts the ball up field but Hernandez can't make it stick. 

Cincinnati are back on the ball, it's do or die time!

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120+1

Barreal whips in the cross towards Mosquera at the back post, but the defender's header goes out for a goal kick.

Columbus are nearly there! 

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120+1

Cincinnati win a free kick on the left wing, a chance to deliver for Barreal. 

What drama!

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120

Cincinnati come forward again, in the dying seconds. 

There will be two minutes of added time at the end of extra time. 

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119

Columbus are looking to close the game out as we head into the final minute of the 30 added minutes. THey win a throw in and look to keep it up the field. 

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118

Cincinnati win the goal kick and Celentano pumps the ball forward. It lands at the feet of Luciano Acosta but all the MLS MVP can manage is a rather aimless lob forward. 

Patrick Schulte claims the ball easily. 

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118

It's heating up now!

Cucho Hernandez battles with the Cincy defenders near the corner flag and tempers flare. Columbus win the corner kick and waste some more time. 

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117

Columbus are dominating the ball and Cincinnati might struggle to get it back off them. 

Boupendza and Vazquez have both been taken off already. Luciano Acosta looks absolutely exhausted. 

Can the Supporters Shield winners muster something special in the final minutes?

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116

Yerson Mosquera picks up a booking for a late challenge. 

Cincinnati need to keep their heads here...

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115

Sensational stuff, what a game!

Molino picked up the ball on the edge of the box and clipped a ball over to Cucho Hernandez on the far side. The Colombian did brilliantly to nod the ball down to Christian Ramirez, who had a simple tap-in. 

Cincinnati have five minutes to save their season!

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115

Goooooaaaaaaaaal! Columbus Crew

The visitors have the lead in the final minutes and it is Columbus Crew who could well be heading to MLS Cup!

Christian Ramirez does it again!

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114

Columbus are back on top now and are starting to turn the screw. Rossi works the ball through to Gressel, who can't find anyone in the middle with his cross. 

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112

Molina races down the left for Columbus and pulls the ball back. It gets a deflection and nearly diverts past Celentano. 

Still 2-2, we're into the final minutes now!

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111

Columbus work the ball into Rossi in the Cincy box and he looks to fire the ball across the face of goal. Celentano does well to smother the ball. 

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110

Final change for Columbus as Matan is replaced by the experienced Molino

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109

Both teams definitely starting to tire now and the game has slowed since the half time break. 

Columbus back on the attack with Nagbe, who is fouled midway into the Cincinnati half. Another chance to deliver. 

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107

Diego Rossi's energy is incredible, still bringing his team forward with runs form deep. He looks the most likely to spark something for his team. 

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105

Almost immediately there's a chance for Cincinnati. Opening for Dominique Badji but he is crowded out by recovering defenders. 

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105

And we're back to action, second half underway!

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105

There's a change for Cincinnati, Vazquez is replaced by Marco Angulo. 

Some much-needed fresh legs for the hosts.

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105

It's half time in extra time. Still all square, we're 15 minutes away from penalties in the Eastern Conference final. 

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104

Rossi floats the free kick to the back post, where Ramirez connects well with a header. He tries to head the ball back across goal but Celentano claims it well. 

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103

Flurry of chances for Columbus as Cucho Hernandez and Rossi try to make space for a shot. 

The ball falls to Nagbe who wins a free kick on the edge of the box. It's about 30 yards from goal.

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102

Brilliant interplay between Hernandez and Rossi, nearly finding the latter in space behind the Cincy backline. Some last-gasp defending from the hosts clears the danger, but only just. 

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100

Huge chance Columbus!

Another dangerous delivery from Gressel finds Cucho Hernandez in the box and the flicks the ball goalwards. It lands at the feet of Malte Amundsen, but the defender can only stab the ball over the crossbar

That's a let-off for Cincy. 

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99

Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez picks up a booking for a late challenge on the halfway line. 

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98

Gressel curls in the corner form the left but it's well claimed by Celentano. 

The Cincinnati goalkeeper punts the ball forward toward Vazquez but he can't bring the ball down and Columbus recover. 

This will be a long extra-time for Cincinnati unless they can turn the tide. 

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97

Real tension now as Cincinnati supporters watch their team pinned back in their own penalty box. 

Rossi looks to run in behind but Obinna gets back well to clear the ball for a corner. 

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96

Darting run from Diego Rossi to skip past Mosquera and make it to the touchline. He looks to pull the ball back to Ramirez but he can't quite connect. 

More brave defending from Cincinnati to clear the danger. 

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95

Celentano pumps the ball forward to Vazquez but the USMNT forward can't make it stick. Cincinnati need a little more from the striker. 

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94

Columbus look like the team in the ascendency now and appear the most likely to force a winner. Can Cincinnati fight back from this setback?

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92

Another chance for Gressel to deliver with quality from a set piece. 

He tries to play the ball short but Cincinnati intercept and are back on the attack. Brilliant pass from Acosta to set Mosquera free on the left, but Rossi is sprinting back to stop the attack. 

Sensational from the Columbus goalscorer. 

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91

Good play from Gaddis to bring the ball out of defence for Cincinnati but he loses the ball. 

Columbus break sharply and Malte Amundsen wins a free kick on the left flank for his team. 

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90

And we're back!

We're underway for extra-time in the Eastern Conference final. 

Two 15 minutes halves coming up, with the prospect of penalties after if it's still level. 

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WATCH: Diego Rossi levels for Columbus Crew

We have seen 90 minutes of thrilling action at TQL Stadium, culminating with this dramatic late leveller from Diego Rossi. With his team's fate hanging in the balance, the Crew midfielder did brilliantly to slot the ball home. 

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90+4

Peeep peeeeep peeeeeep

That's the end of the 90 minutes and the scores are level. 

We head into extra-time...

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90+4

Mosquera is back on his feet and Columbus are back on the attack. 

Gressel looks to find Rossi in the middle but he can't connect. That might be it for the regulation 90 minutes. 

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90+3

Yerson Mosquera goes down after a late challenge from Cucho Hernandez. THat would be a real concern for the hosts is he's unable to continue. 

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90+2

Everyone in TQL Stadium is on their feet for the final nervy moments of injury time. 

Columbus are back on the attack but Gressel is dispossessed by Mosquera on the edge of the box. 

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90+1

Now Cincinnati come forward with Badji on the left. He does well to get to the byline and fire the ball along the face of goal, but no one is there to convert. 

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90

There will be a minimum of four minutes of added time.

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90

Columbus win a free kick on the left wing, another chance for Gressel to deliver with quality. 

Cucho Hernandez connects with a header but it's easily stopped by Celentano. 

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89

Brilliant corner kick from Gressel but his delivery evades everyone in the box and goes out on the far side.

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87

Cincinnati are looking to cool the game down as we approach 90 minutes but Columbus smell blood. 

Amundson has a shot from the edge of the box but it is deflected wide. Corner kick for Columbus.

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86

We're into the final stages of regular time now and this really is anyone's game. Cincy had stood strong for so long but Columbus' pressure has finally told. 

Cincinnati look a little shell-shocked and there's a real sense of tension in the stadium. 

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Columbus Crew level the game!

Sensational scenes at TQL Stadium as Columbus Crew come back from two goals down against the number one seed.

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84

Goooooaaaaaal! Diego Rossi

Columbus are all the way back! They looked down and out but Rossi keeps his cool to curl the ball home from close range. 

What a game!

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81

Columbus have the ball back with a goal kick and look to break quickly, but the move breaks down. 

The visitors need to show patience in the final stages to break down an organised Cincinnati defence. 

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80

Great ball from Powell to find Gaddis in space on the right wing. He wins a throw-in for his team, wasting a few more seconds. 

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77

That goal has sparked this game into life and there's a real sense of tension now as Columbus look to save their playoff lives. 

Cincinnati win a free kick in the Crew half, a chance for Acosta to deliver. Referee blows up for a foul in the box. 

Columbus have the free kick. 

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76

The goal was unfortunate for Powell, who was forced into the mistake by a brilliant cross from Gressel on the right wing. 

The cross was whipped in with real pace and struck Alvas in front of his own goal. 

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75

Gooooooooaaaaaal! Columbus Crew

The visitors are back in the game, courtesy of an own goal from Alvas Powell. 

There's 15 minutes of normal time remaining, 2-1. Game on!

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74

Steven Moreira charges in-field for Columbus and slips the ball through to Christian Ramirez, sprinting in behind the Cincy backline. He nearly connects but Celentano does brilliantly to get out and clear the danger. 

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73

Another substitution for Cincinnati sees Aaron Boupendza replaced by Dominique Badji. 

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72

There's a chance on the break With Brandon Vazquez charging clear for Cincy. He's bearing down on goal but Darlington Nagbe makes a lung-busting recovery run to catch up with Vazquez and win back the ball. 

Herois stuff from the Crew's captain. 

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71

Another good ball from Yeboah finds Cucho Hernandez in the middle of the box. He lets fly but it's deflected wide. 

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70

We're into the final 20 minutes of a pulsating game at TQL Stadium. The Cincinnati fans are letting off flares, sending a fog of orange fog across the field. 

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69

NO GOAL!

Wait! The goal is disallowed, the ball struck Boupendza's hand before bouncing into the net. 

It's still 2-0, Columbus are still alive!

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69

Gooooaaaaaaal! Aaron Boupendza

Cincinnati have their third and have surely booked their place in MLS Cup!

Aaron Boupendza pounced on a spill from Schulte and stabbed the ball home. 

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68

The game is starting to get very stretched now, with opportunities on the break whenever Cincinnati come forward. Acosta is starting to find space between the lines. 

 

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66

Cincinnati have a chance to break with Vazquez and Boupendza. 

Vazquez does brilliantly to slip the ball through to Boupendza, who coolly takes the ball around the keeper and slots home. But no, the flag is up and the goal is ruled out for offside. 

Still 2-0 to Cincinnati.

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65

And just the one substitution from Cincinnati, Gaddis replaces Arias

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65

First changes for Columbus as Ramirez and Gressel come on to replace Morris and Farsi. Attacking switch from Wilfried Nancy. 

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64

Darlington Nagbe does well in the midfield and fires the ball towards Cucho Hernandez. The Colombian is muscled off the ball and Cincy win the goal kick. 

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63

Slight injury concern for Columbus as Diego Rossi tries to shake off a knock. 

Double change coming for the Crew shortly. 

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62

Full-blooded challenges from both sides in the middle of midfield. There's a bit of yelling from the sidelines but the referee has been happy to let this game flow. 

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61

Brilliant from Yeboah on the left, skipping past Arias and into the Cincy box. He hits a fierce right-footed shot but it cannons back off a Cincinnati body and the hosts clear. 

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60

As we hit the hourmark there's still no sign of a substitution for either team. No surprise for Cincy, but you would expect that Wilfried Nancy is considering introducing Christian Ramirez fairly soon. 

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59

Good play from Vazquez to hold the ball up for Cincy and give his team the chance to push up the field. He's looked good today, with a well-taken goal and energetic work off the ball too. 

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58

Arias does well down the right flank and pulls the ball back to Boupendza on the edge of the box. He takes and touch and strikes at goal, but his shot flies over the bar. 

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57

Diego Rossi finds Yeboah on the left wing but he loses possession with an over-ambitious pass forward. Cincinnati win the ball back and look to counter.

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56

Cincinnati look better able to disrupt the Columbus build-up in this half, winning the ball high up on more than one occasion. The Crew haven't looked as composed as they did in the first half, perhaps a little shaken by that late goal from Acosta. 

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55

Acosta pinches the ball off Morris and looks to chip Schulte from the edge of the box. It's not a bad effort, but the Argentine fouled Morris in the process. 

Free kick to Columbus. 

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52

This is a difficult task for Columbus now. They need to push forward and get one back, but conceding another now would almost certainly mean defat for Wilfried Nancy's men. 

Cincinnati will have chances to hit them on the break. 

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51

What a save!

Sensational stop from Patrick Schulte to deny Boupendza from close range. A flying save down to his right to keep his team in this contest. 

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50

Lightening-fast break from Cincinnati with Arias down the right. He clips the ball into the middle, but Schulte comes out to claim the ball before Boupendza can connect with the cross. 

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49

The cross is curled into the box but Cincy head clear. Columbus look to work the ball back into the penalty area but Kubo does well to recover the ball and win a throw-in for his team. 

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48

Crew free kick on the right corner of the Cincinnati box. Brilliant play from Aidan Morris to pinch the ball off Acosta and win the set piece for his side. 

Diego Rossi to deliver...

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47

Columbus appeals for a penalty as the ball clips Kubo's hand in the Cincinnati box. 

The visitors take the resultant corner but a free kick is awarded to Cincy for a foul. 

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46

No changes for either team at half time and the second half starts in the same fashion as much of the first was played. 

Columbus dominated the ball, Cincinnati trying to be different to break down. 

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45

Second half underway!

Columbus Crew get the second 45 started. Can they drag themselves back into this game?

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WATCH: Luciano Acosta free kick goal

The hosts doubled their lead on the stroke of halftime with this inch-perfect free kick from Luciano Acosta. The MLS MVP proved his quality once again, curling the ball past Schulte. 

Could the Columbus defenders have done better to close him down? Wilfried Nancy may have something to say to his team at halftime. 

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Spare a thought for Columbus Crew, who dominated the first half with 64% of the possession at the home of the Supporters Shield winners. They have forced some half-chances but the attacking talent at Cincinnati's disposal has made the different in the opening 45. 

Wilfried Nancy might be tempted to turn to Christian Ramirez at halftime. The experienced forward came off the break to score the Crew's first against Orlando in the semi-final and he offers something different to the other Columbus forwards. 

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WATCH: Brandon Vazquez opens the scoring

The atmosphere at TQL Stadium was bubbling ahead of kick-off but it exploded in the 13th minute as Brandon Vazquez fired his team ahead from a tight angle. He's not been at his best this season, but the USMNT forward showed his quality there. 

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Cincinnati take a two-goal lead into the break

They may not have been at their best in the first half but well-taken goals from Brandon Vazquez and Luciano Acosta have put Cincinnati in the driving seat. Columbus will feel that they should at least be level, but Cincy have been ruthless in the attacking third. 

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45+2

Absolute killer for Columbus, who dominated the opening 45 minutes. 

And that will be it for the first half at TQL Stadium.

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45+2

Gooooooaaaaaal! Luciano Acosta

He's done it, the MLS MVP strikes!

Acosta curls the ball into the far corner with a perfectly-placed free kick in the dying stages of the first half. 

Brilliant from Acosta!

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45+2

Cincy work it forward to Brandon Vazquez, making a clear run behind the Columbus backline. He is clipped by Farsi on the edge of the box and the hosts win a free kick in a very dangerous position. 

Unsurprisingly, Luciano Acosta to take...

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45+1

Mosquera shows good composure to clear up at the back for Cincy, sending his team forward for one last attack. 

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45

There will be a minimum of two minutes of added time at the end of the first half. 

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44

Final moments of the first half and Cincy are back on the ball. It only lasts a matter of seconds, though, and Columbus are back on the attack. 

Can they muster one more chance before the break?

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43

Diego Rossi is convinced that he should have a penalty but his appeals fall on deaf ears. After a brief VAR check, we're back underway at TQL Stadium. 

It was a soft challenge from Kubo, but he did bump into Rossi. 

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42

Cincinnati are really struggling to keep possession here and Columbus are straight back on the offensive. 

Diego Rossi picks up the ball in the box and is felled by Barreal, but referee says no penalty. 

 

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41

Diego Rossi tries to pick out a teammate on the edge of the box but Arias reads the pass and intercepts well. 

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40

Brilliant pass from Diego Rossi to send Farsi sweeping forward on the right right. He skips past Barreal and wins a free kick for his team on the edge of the box. 

A chance for Columbus to deliver from wide. 

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39

Acosta curls in the corner kick and it's cleared, but only as far as Kubo on the edge. The Japanese midfielder volleys towards goal but it's blocked and Columbus pick up a free kick after a melee in the box. 

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38

Cincy break forward with a clever pass from Kubo towards Vazquez. The USMNT forward latches onto the ball and tries to whip it across to Luciano Acosta in the middle. 

Columbus clear for a Cincy corner. 

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35

Nearly an equaliser!

Powerful run from Moreira, charging towards the Cincinnati box, and pulling back a clever pass to the edge of the 18. Cucho Hernandez leaps on the opportunity and fires a powerful shot at goal, but Celentano is equal to it. 

Still 1-0 to Cincinnati, Columbus getting closer. 

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34

Columbus take the free kick short and play some neat stuff around the box, before Aiden Morris clips an aimless cross out for a Cincinnati goal kick. 

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32

The corner is cleared but there's a handball called on Luciano Acosta, close to the touchline on the right. Columbus have a chance to deliver into the box. 

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31

More good play from Columbus as Cucho Hernandez is played in behind the Cincinnati backline. He looks to fire at goal but two recovering defenders get back to block the shot.

Columbus win a corner. 

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30

Half an hour in this has been a brilliant game, with chances for both teams and real attacking intent from the off. 

Cincy have the lead but Columbus have taken control in the last ten minutes and are starting to turn the screw now. Cincinnati are struggling to get out of their defensive third. 

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29

Appeals for a penalty from Columbus!

Brilliant run from Farsi to dart into the Cincinnati box and he goes over after a clumsy tackle in the area. 

Referee waves away the appeals, but Columbus are looking dangerous now. 

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27

Yeboah finds himself in space, high up on the left flank. He tries to whip a low cross towards Cucho Hernandez at the front post, but he is well-marsheled by Cincinnati defenders. 

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25

Columbus come forward again with Hernandez and Rossi. 

Hernandez tries to thread an inch-perfect pass through to Farsi, but the ball is a little to long. Goal kick to Cincy. 

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24

Arias wins a free kick for Cincinnati, easing the pressure on the hosts. The look to play out from the back but a well-coordinated high press from the Crew forces them to play long and the visitors regain possession. 

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23

Aaron Boupenza spots Patrick Schulte off his line and tries to lob the Crew goalkeeper from the halfway line. 

It's a decent effort, but it sails harmlessly over the crossbar. 

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23

Nice interplay from Rossi and Hernandez for Columbus to make space for the shot. Cucho looks to curl one past Celentano but it's easily saved. 

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22

The short corner is blocked by Cincy and Columbus regain possession and work the ball to Aiden Morris on the edge of the box. 

He lets fly from distance but it's comfortably over the Cincinnati goal. 

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21

Columbus Crew are starting to enjoy some possession in the Cincy half. Morris plays a brilliant ball across to Yeboah on the left flank from Arias does well to get back and clear the ball. 

Corner kick for Columbus now...

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19

What a start to the Eastern Conference final! Chances for both sides in the opening stages and a fervent atmosphere, whipped up bu that early goal from Vazquez. 

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17

Columbus Crew are not going to sit back and they are straight back on the counter-attack, flooding forward. The ball is worked to Diego Rossi and the Crew forward shows brilliant footwork to shuffle into the box, passing the ball to Cucho Hernandez to shoot. 

Celentano can't stop it but there's a recovering defender on the line to clear the danger. 

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16

Another chance for Cincinnati and Alvaro Barreal finds himself on the edge of the Columbus box and tries to curl it into the far corner. His effort is saved and the rebound just evades the other Cincinnati players. 

That's a let-off for the Crew. 

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It was a brilliantly taken goal from Vazquez, who picked up a loose ball in the box and shimmied through the Columbus defence. 

He worked the ball onto his left and fired home from a tight angle. Clinical finishing from the Cincinnati forward. 

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13

Goooooooaaaaaal! Cincinnati

The hosts have the lead and it's Brandon Vazquez with the goal!

Brilliant finish from a tight angle from the USMNT striker!

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11

Brilliant recovery challenge from Yeboah to stop a Cincinnati attack on the right flank. The opportunity came from an exquisite diagonal pass from Luciano Acosta. 

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10

Boos from the home crowd as the referee stops the game to allow Rossi to receive medical attention. It came at an inopportune moment for the hosts and they looked to counter with Boupendza. 

Cincinnati get the ball back for the restart but they lose the chance to break on Columbus. 

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9

Clever pass from Cucho Hernandez to find Diego Rossi in space on the edge of the Cincy box. He considers a shot but opts instead to play back to Nagbe. 

Columbus looking to recycle the possession in the early stages, rather than going for the jugular. 

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8

Luciano Acosta is starting to get on the ball for the hosts, drifting on to the left to combine with Alvaro Barreal. 

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6

Chance for a breakaway for Cincinnati as they turn over the ball in midfield. 

Boupendza brings the ball forward and gets to the edge of the box, before getting crowded out by recovering Columbus defenders. 

He should have done better with that opening. 

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5

It's an even start at TQL Stadium with both teams figuring the other out. The Cincinnati supporter are making a great atmosphere. 

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2

Columbus have looked composed in the early stages, with Darlington Nagbe getting on the ball in the middle of the park. 

His experience could be crucial for the Crew in a fierce TQL Stadium atmosphere. 

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1

There's an early opening for Cucho Hernandez, from the edge of the Cincinnati box. He swivels on the ball and strikes at goal but it's easily saved. 

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And we're off!

We're underway in Cincinnati for the Eastern Conference final...

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The players are out on the field and we're nearly ready for kick-off now. 

Who will come out on top in the Eastern Conference final? We're about to find out...

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Matt Miazga suspension extended after MLS investigation

Wondering why there's no Matt Miazga for Cincinnati? The MLS Defender of the Year has been a crucial part of Cincy's success this season but misses out tonight due to an explosive incident earlier in the post-season. 

Here's the full story...

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What a sight!

Kick-off is fast approaching and the Cincinnati support is warming up for this game. The team were struggling in their first few years in MLS but they have been transformed by head coach Pat Noonan, who led them to the Supporters Shield title at a canter.

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Warming up for Hell is Real

The visiting Columbus team is going through their paces at TQL Stadium, an intimidating venue for tonight's Eastern Conference final. The performance of Cucho Hernandez could be crucial for the Crew this evening as they look to take advantage of an injury-affect Cincinnati backline. 

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What is the Hell is Real Derby? MLS Conference final

Tonight's Eastern Conference final is an Ohio derby, often known as the 'Hell is Real' derby. 

FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew meet in the final for the very first time and tonight promises to be an exciting new chapter in the rivalry. 

Here's everything you need to know about the history of the fixture and the origin of the name...

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Atmosphere building in Cincinnati

We're around half an hour from kick-off at TQL Stadium and the supporters are gathering for the Eastern Conference final. There's a place in MLS Cup on the line, but also local bragging rights between Ohio's two MLS teams. 

Cincy supporters have had plenty to cheer about this season and they will be looking to roar their side to victory this evening. 

William Gittins
Cincinnati - Columbus Crew: Players to watch in the ECF | Luciano Acosta, Cucho Hernández…

Tonight's Eastern Conference final promises to be a real cracker, with some of the best players in MLS on show at TQL Stadium. Recently-crowned MLS MVP Luciano Acosta wears the captain's armband for FC Cincinnati and Columbus boast one of the league's deadliest forwards, Cucho Hernandez. 

Here are the players to watch this evening...

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And here's how Columbus Crew line up

Here's the team selected by Wilfried Nancy. The Crew are at full strength tonight and have plenty of experience with the likes of Darlington Nagbe and Cucho Hernandez

There's no place in the starting XI for Christian Ramirez, who came off the bench in the semi-final to find the crucial breakthrough goal. 

William Gittins

FC Cincinnati starting XI

Here's how the hosts line up! No major surprises, although some would have expected Obinna Nwobodo to start after his return from injury. Pat Noonan opts to stick with the Kubo-Moreno duo that played in the semi-final. 

William Gittins

We're expecting team news from TQL Stadium very shortly. 

The main absentee for tonight's Eastern Conference final is Matt Miazga, the MLS Defender of the Year, who is suspended for FC Cincinnati. Cincy are also without stalwart Nick Hagglund due to a long-term injury. 

We'll bring you the starting XIs as soon as we have them...

William Gittins
Cincinnati - Columbus Crew: How much do tickets cost for the Eastern Conference final?

FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew meet in the MLS Eastern Conference final at TQL Stadium on Saturday, with the winner progressing to the season-defining MLS Cup, where they will face either LAFC or Houston Dynamo.

It's a crucial game and everyone in town wants to be there to watch history unfold. Unsurprisingly, tickets are not going cheap...

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William Gittins

Cincinnati stars arrive for Columbus clash

The Supporters Shield champions are in the house and looking confident for the Eastern Conference final. Striker Brandon Vazquez looks relaxed on arrival as he looks to guide his team to the second MLS Cup triumph of his career. 

The USMNT forward was a part of Gerardo Martino's Atlanta United side that lifted the trophy in 2019. 

William Gittins

The scene is set at TQL Stadium

Where else would you rather be? Cincinnati's state-of-the-art TQL Stadium is the venue for tonight's game and we're expecting a cracking atmosphere. 

Cincy's The Pride supporters group always provide a brilliant soundtrack and tonight's game is the team's first ever Conference final appearance. 

William Gittins
FC Cincinnati - Columbus Crew: Why is the Eastern Conference final in Cincinnati?

Tonight's Eastern Conference final is held at TQL Stadium, home of Supporters Shield winners FC Cincinnati. Our very own William Allen takes a look at Cincy's historic season and explains why they get home advantage for this crucial game. 

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William Gittins

Eastern Conference reaches finale

After more than nine months of action, the Eastern Conference has been whittled down to two team playing for a place in MLS Cup.

FC Cincinnati cruised to the Supporters Shield title in the regular season and have looked impressive in the playoffs, seeing off New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union. 

Columbus were the top scorers in the regular season and have continued that in the post-season, notching ten goals in just four games. 

William Gittins

Hello and welcome to AS USA. It's finals time in MLS and we have a cracking game at TQL Stadium to decide the Eastern Conference title. 

FC Cincinnati host Columbus Crew, two of the most prolific strike forces in MLS going head-to-head. 

I'm Will Gittins and I'll be bringing you full live coverage of all the action...

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