Forward Stern John scored twice in about six minutes late in the game yesterday to lead the Columbus Crew to a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the opener of their MLS Eastern Conference first-round series.

Game Two is Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

John--who tied for the league lead in goals during the regular season with 18--recorded his first goal in the 78th minute. Robert Warzycha played the ball along the right sideline to second-half substitute Brian West. West worked his way deep into Mutiny territory before centering the ball. Brian McBride's run to the goal drew several defenders, leaving John the opportunity to hammer the ball past goalkeeper Scott Garlick.

John's second goal came in the 84th minute, when the Trinidadian striker tipped in Warzycha's free kick.

GALAXY 3, RAPIDS 0: At the Rose Bowl, Ezra Hendrickson, Greg Vanney and Cobi Jones scored as Los Angeles routed Colorado to take a 1-0 lead in a Western Conference first-round series. The Galaxy played the final 72 minutes a player short after Simon Elliott's second yellow card. The Rapids, who host Game 2 Sunday, have gone 589 minutes without a goal.