Cucho Hernández scores 2 goals to help Crew beat Atlanta United 2-0 in MLS playoffs
Cucho Hernández scored two goals to reach 18 on the season and No. 3 seed Columbus Crew beat sixth-seeded Atlanta United 2-0 on Wednesday night in the MLS playoffs.
Columbus (17-9-9) plays at Atlanta (13-10-12) on Tuesday in Game 2 of the best-of-three series.
Columbus is unbeaten in 16 straight home matches in all competitions, with 12 wins. The Crew have won seven of their last eight home playoff matches, with a draw, including six straight.
Atlanta has only won four of its last 35 away matches in all competitions, with 18 losses, dating to 2022.
Hernández scored his first goal in first-half stoppage time. After an Atlanta turnover, Diego Rossi started a counterattack by sending a long pass to the Hernández, who beat his defender to send a shot inside the near post.
Hernández, who was 5 for 5 from the penalty spot during the regular season, converted a penalty kick in the 51st minute to give Columbus multiple goals in a match for a league-high 22nd time this season.
Atlanta was without Thiago Almada, who led the MLS with 19 assists this season, after he was sent off on Decision Day.