Ghanaian duo Mensah and Afful help Columbus Crew reach MLS Cup final
Arthur’s 59th-minute strike was enough to seal victory for Caleb Porter’s men.
New England had their best chance of the first half in the 28th minute, when Carles Gil played a ball over the top to Adam Buksa down the left side, allowing the Polish striker to streak by Mensah and rip a shot on goal, only to see it deflect off the near post.
After a goalless first half, the Crew got their breakthrough just before the hour mark after Zelarayan sent in a cross to the far post that was laid back off a cross the box by Mensah, allowing Arthur to coolly slot home a first-time finish.
They continued to apply the pressure and almost doubled the lead in spectacular fashion just three minutes later with a daring long-distance attempt from Zelarayan that beat Turner but was stopped by the woodwork.
That near-miss provided New England with a lifeline as they pushed for an equaliser, but could not halt their opponents from being crowned as champions of the Eastern Conference for 2020.
Harrison Afful and Mensah were in action from start to finish for the Black and Gold while their compatriot Emmanuel Boateng was brought on as an 80th-minute substitute for Luis Diaz.
Columbus Crew await the winner of Monday’s Western Conference final between Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United FC. The 2020 MLS Cup takes places on Saturday, December 12.