Artur scored in the 59th minute and the Columbus Crew advanced to the MLS Cup title game with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Sunday in the Eastern Conference final.
The third-seeded Crew will face the winner of the Western Conference final Monday night between the defending champion Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United.
Columbus beat upstart Nashville with two goals during extra time last Sunday to advance to the conference finals while the team struggled with positive coronavirus cases.
A limited number of fans were on hand at MAPFRE Stadium to celebrate the victory.
The eighth-seeded Revolution were the surprise of the playoffs, getting past Montreal in a play-in game before eliminating the top-seeded Philadelphia Union and No. 4 Orlando City.
Canada’s Tajon Buchanan started at right back for New England, playing 70 minutes before being subbed off for midfielder Kelyn Rowe after Columbus went in front. A 21-year-old from Brampton, Ont., Buchanan appeared in all 23 regular-season games for the Revolution. Converted to right back from forward in recent weeks, he scored in New England’s 2-0 upset win over Philadelphia in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Columbus had several good chances at the start, including Darlington Nagbe’s attempt in the fifth minute that was saved by goalkeeper Matt Turner. Turner went on to have five saves in the first half alone.
Finding the mark
The Crew finally broke through with Artur’s deftly placed goal just inside the post. It was the Brazilian midfielder’s third goal of the season.
Gustavo Bou had a chance for the Revolution in stoppage time but his attempt was saved by Crew goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.
Columbus had another player test positive Wednesday. A total of eight players had tested positive since Nov. 22 and were isolated. A handful of players were unavailable Sunday.
One of the league’s original teams, Columbus won the title in 2008, then hosted the MLS Cup in 2015, but lost to the Portland Timbers — then led by current Crew coach Caleb Porter.
New England has been to the MLS Cup final six times, but has never won the title. Bruce Arena is the winningest MLS Cup head coach with five titles, twice with D.C. United in the league’s first two seasons, and three times with the L.S. Galaxy. He wrapped up his second season with New England.