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Miguel Berry’s back-to-back goals help Columbus Crew stun FC Cincinnati

Columbus Crew midfielder Luis Diaz (12) kicks the ball past FC Cincinnati defender Ronald Matarrita (18) during the first half of a MLS match between the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.

Mls Fc Cincinnati At Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew midfielder Luis Diaz (12) kicks the ball past FC Cincinnati defender Ronald Matarrita (18) during the first half of a MLS match between the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. Mls Fc Cincinnati At Columbus Crew

Rookie Miguel Berry scored 78 seconds apart late in the second half to rally the Columbus Crew to a 3-2 victory over visiting FC Cincinnati on Friday to end a six-game losing streak.

Berry tied it 2-2 in the 81st minute, then had a deflection of a clearance go in off his thigh in the 82nd for the first win for the Crew (7-9-6, 27 points) since July 24.

After a 1-1 halftime tie, Cincinnati (3-9-8, 17 points) took the lead in the 74th minute on the first goal by rookie Isaac Atanga, but defensive letdowns extended its winless streak to 11 (0-4-7).

Berry, who entered in the 73rd minute, has scored three goals in six matches — all of them coming in two games against Cincinnati.

The Crew took a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute on a free kick by Lucas Zelarayan before Ronald Matarrita tied in the third minute of first-half stoppage time after a corner kick.

Atanga, in his 13th game, scored on the counter after a series of saves by Kenneth Vermeer kept Cincinnati level.

But Vermeer couldn’t handle a shot by Pedro Santos and spilled the rebound to Berry for the equalizer. He then had a rebound hit Cincinnati’s Gustavo Vallecilla before finding Berry for the winner.

The ending was befitting of the Hell is Real rivalry.

Zelarayan, a surprise starter after playing the first 30 minutes for the MLS All-Stars against Mexico’s Liga MX in Los Angeles on Wednesday, scored his seventh goal of the season with a free kick from 24 yards by curling the ball over the wall to the upper left corner.

It was his fifth free kick goal of the season to set the club record, one more than Robert Warzycha produced in 2000.

Zelarayan’s stunner was matched by Mataritta. Cincinnati’s last-gasp corner was cleared to the left foot of Mataritta and the defender settled the ball and darted a shot from 22 yards for his first goal of the season and fifth in 120 MLS career games.

–Field Level Media