DAVID WRONA'S HEADER AT THE DEATH SENDS COLUMBUS CREW SC TO THE QUARTERFINALS

By Jeremy Reid

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 22, 2018)-- David Wrona headed home the game-winner five minutes into stoppage time to propel Columbus Crew SC into the knockout round quarterfinals at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-18/19 Playoffs. His goal at the death proved decisive in the 1-0 victory over the regular season champs and overall No. 1 seed New York Red Bulls on Friday afternoon.

The goal by Wrona came off a corner kick from Colin Biros. An earlier penalty kick save made it look like nothing would get past New York goalkeeper Matt Frank, but Biros rose up to rifle home a header and punch the Crew's knockout round ticket.

Neither team created much in the way of chances during the opening 45. The Red Bulls' best opportunity came in the 10th minute when Skylar Conway got on the end of a cross from the right wing, but he headed it just over the bar.

With 10 minutes left before the break, the Crew drew a free kick in dangerous position, 25 yards from goal. Biros stepped up to take the kick, swinging it up and over the wall but just wide left of Frank in the New York net as the game went into the half scoreless.

New York found the first good chance after the break as John Murphy forced a turnover in midfield and fed Jack Valderrabano, who bent his shot just wide of the far post in the 55th minute. Seven minutes later, Wrona collected a long ball from the back for Columbus and found himself in behind the New York defense, but the forward skied his shot harmlessly over the crossbar.

In the 69th minute, Anthony Rovito nearly gave the Red Bulls the opening goal. He collected the ball 35 yards from the net, turned and fired a dipping shot that just went over the crossbar as the game remained deadlocked.

While a draw would have been enough to send New York to the quarterfinals, Columbus needed a win. It looked like they had a lifeline when Aidan Morris was taken down in the box for a penalty kick in the 81st minute. Biros took the penalty, but Frank dove to his left to make an impressive save.

As the game went into stoppage time, the Red Bulls nearly put it out of reach when Valderrabano tried his luck from distance. Crew SC goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk saved the shot and gave his team one final chance to snatch a victory.

With just moments left, Kowalczyk sent a ball route one down the center of the field and Wrona had a step behind the Red Bulls defense. Just as he got his shot away, the defender recovered to knock it out for a corner. As the clock ticked towards 95, Biros whipped the corner into the box and Wrona rose highest above the crowd. He headed the ball down and inside the near post past Frank, sending the Crew into a frenzy. Less than a minute later, the referee blew his whistle for full-time as Columbus secured its spot in the quarterfinals with the upset victory.