Aiden Morris and Cucho Hernandez scored in the first half to back three saves by Patrick Schulte as the host Columbus Crew defeated FC Cincinnati 3-0 on Sunday.
Morris tallied in the 15th minute and Hernandez converted a penalty eight minutes later for the Crew (11-7-6, 39 points), who are 9-1-3 at home.
Jacen Russell Rowe roofed a shot in extra time for the final score and the Crew improved to 6-2-4 in the Hell is Real derby against their Ohio rival.
Roman Celentano made six saves for Cincinnati (15-3-6, 51 points), which had a four-game (2-0-2) unbeaten streak end.
Cincinnati still leads MLS in points and will continue its pursuit of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it hosts Lionel Messi and Inter Miami in a semifinal match on Wednesday.
The Crew avenged a loss on May 20 when host Cincinnati raced to a 2-0 lead before the Crew scored twice. Junior Moreno then scored the winner for Cincinnati in the 67th minute.
Morris scored his fourth goal of the season with a line drive to the upper-right corner from 21 yards. He passed ahead to Yaw Yeboah on the left side and then slid into open space outside the box.
He took one touch to settle the return ball before firing a cross-body shot.
The Crew doubled the lead when Alvaro Barreal was called for a handball. Christian Ramirez had received a chip pass from Hernandez and was trying to flick the ball toward the goal when it struck the Cincinnati forward.
Hernandez deposited his sixth goal. He has six goals and five assists in his past 14 MLS appearances since April 29.
The story of the second half was Celentano making three saves on Hernandez and another on Diego Rossi to keep his team within range until the closing seconds.
The Crew played their first MLS match since leading scorer Lucas Zelarayan was sold to Al-Fateh of the Saudi Pro League on July 31.
— Field Level Media