By Andrew Eakes

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 19, 2018) - A last-minute upset victory stole the spotlight at the SoCal Sports Complex on Tuesday afternoon as 26th-ranked Columbus Crew SC took down overall No. 1 seed FC Dallas. Columbus forward Sam Sarver netted the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time to steal three points from the regular season's top squad in both teams' Group F playoff opener.

It was a warm, breezy afternoon to kick off the U-16/17 Development Academy Playoffs at the SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, Calif. The first half provided no goals, but not for lack of action. Crew SC midfielder Sebastian Berhalter served two dangerous corner kicks into the box that were shut down by a stout FC Dallas defense. Goalkeeper Michael Collodi led the charge for Dallas as he showed his range on a number of impressive saves.

Defense served as the theme for both sides, as FC Dallas found it difficult to capitalize on mistakes from the Columbus-based side and to finish the ball despite a number of attempts on goal. The Toros put together a few prime opportunities in the first half, as forward Johan Gomez had a shot hit off the cross bar, just a few inches from the net.

The second half saw much of the same defensive determination as the first. Berhalter got his fair share of opportunities, but he found himself denied by Collodi again with some more acrobatic saves. On the attack for FC Dallas, Youth National Team forward Dante Sealy earned multiple chances through quick footwork and free kicks but came up unsuccessful in each attempt.

FC Dallas then had its turn to be denied by an athletic save, as Crew SC goalkeeper Mitchell Hanson responded with a strong effort of his own. Defender Jose Kevin Bonilla sent a ball to Gomez on the left side of the net. He attempted to head it in, but was ultimately denied by Hanson.

Three minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the game, and Columbus would need every bit of it to find the winner. Sarver had come on as a substitute for Philip Horton, and the forward picked up the ball after the Dallas 'keeper tried to clear it. Sarver missed his first attempt at the shot but regained and netted the game winner.

"It's difficult to play FC Dallas," said Crew SC head coach Andreas Engelmark. "They are a very good team and their pressing was high. They are very good at that, which made it hard to build up. We kept believing and doing what we were supposed to do. The competitiveness and togetherness of our team was very good."

Crew SC hopes to ride its momentum into Thursday when it takes on LA Galaxy at 2:30 p.m., while FC Dallas will have to rebound against Florida-based Chargers SC, also at 2:30.