COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gyasi Zardes completed a hat trick in the 83rd minute to give the Columbus Crew a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United on Sunday and a fifth seed in the playoffs as the Major League Soccer regular season concluded.
The Crew (14-11-9) were assured of a playoff spot with a win but had secured the berth earlier when Montreal lost. All season finales started at the same time, but there was a long weather delay in Columbus.
Columbus will play at fourth-seeded D.C. United in a Knockout Round game on Wednesday or Thursday.
Zardes scored in the 11th minute, just after play resumed and scored again in the 49th minute. But Minnesota rallied as Francisco Calvo scored his first goal of the season in the 68th minute and added his second 11 minutes later, cleaning up a loose ball from close range in the box. But Zardes picked up his first career hat trick when Harrison Afful played the ball ahead to Niko Hansen at the end line and he quickly centered a pass to Zardes for a point-blank score. He finished the season with 19 goals.
Minnesota (11-20-3) finished 1-14-2 on the road for five points and only five teams have gone a full season with fewer.