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Columbus 0 (3), Atlanta United 0 (1): Man of the match

My choice for Atlanta United’s man of the match from Thursday’s MLS playoff game against Columbus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Crew defeated the Five Stripes 3-1 in penalty kicks.

BRAD GUZAN

Goalkeeper

Why? He made four saves, including a stop of Pedro Santos with his right hand in the first half, a header by Federico Higuain in extra time and Kekuta Manneh’s penalty kick in the shootout. He should give a nod to Michael Parkhurst, who cleared a shot off the line that Guzan couldn’t get to in extra time.

“Losing on penalties is never easy,” he said. “It’s part of the game. It’s part of the sport. We can’t let this take away from the sense of: we accomplished a lot in terms of a club and as a team. At the same time, inside this locker room, we had bigger goals than just making the playoffs. In that sense, we came up short. It’s never nice. It’s never easy. Again, that’s sports.” 

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