Teamwork makes the dream work

Columbus Crew goes up 2-1 over Monterrey in Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals


The Columbus Crew lead Mexican powerhouse Monterrey 2-1 on combination within the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals after Wednesday’s opening match of the two-leg, total-goals-wins collection.

Crew striker Cucho Hernandez scored within the first half in Ohio’s capital, just for Los Rayados’ veteran Maximiliano Meza to equalize halfway by means of the second. However the Crew bought one other from Canadian nationwide workforce striker Jacen Russell-Rowe with 18 minutes of standard time left to play, they usually made the objective rise up as the sport winner. 

The decisive rematch between the 2 groups can be performed south of the border subsequent week. The collection winner will face both Membership América or fellow Liga MX facet Pachuca — which tied 1-1 after Tuesday’s opener in Mexico Metropolis — within the June 2 finale on the residence of the best remaining seed.  

Listed below are a number of fast ideas following Wednesday’s stalemate in Columbus.  

Play of the sport

The slick-passing Crew loved the majority of possession all evening, they usually used it to nice benefit on Cucho’s strike. Hernandez began the sequence with a intelligent give-and-go with Russell-Rowe, who managed the ball after which despatched an excellent return move to the Colombian worldwide. Hernandez opened up Monterrey keeper Esteban Andrada with a deft contact to his proper earlier than expertly sliding the end throughout his physique and into the just-vacated reverse nook of the online. 

Turning level

Columbus may’ve folded when Meza canceled out their early and well-deserved lead. The guests had all of the momentum after a lightning fast counterattacked ended with an unmarked Meza knocking the tying objective residence previous Crew keeper Patrick Schulte on the again put up: 

As an alternative, the hosts’ resolve appeared to deepen, even when the payoff did not come straight away. The go-ahead objective from Russell-Rowe arrived about quarter-hour later. 

Key stat

The numbers do not lie: the Crew was the higher workforce by nearly each obtainable metric, together with photographs, on-goal photographs, passes, passing accuracy and possession. However the one-goal benefit is the one factor that issues heading into subsequent week’s return leg, even when they did quit a doubtlessly tie-breaking away objective.

Columbus survived Tigres within the final spherical regardless of not successful the primary leg, turning into the one MLS workforce ever to win a shootout in Mexico alongside the way in which. Now any tie aside from a scoreless one can be sufficient for them transfer on. Crew coach Wilfried Nancy & Co. will gladly take that deal. 

What’s subsequent for Columbus? 

Nancy will welcome his former membership, CF Montreal, to subject in MLS motion on Saturday. Columbus, which trails Jap Convention chief Inter Miami by 4 factors, is three factors away from the Canadian membership after 9 league matches performed in 2024. 

What’s subsequent for Monterrey?

Los Rayados, who sit fourth within the Liga MX Clausura standings, journey to Necaxa on Sunday for a league match in opposition to Liga MX’s eighth place workforce — which trials Monterrey by only a single level after 16 rounds of play.

Do not anticipate that to cease coach Fernando Ortiz from resting most of his most well-liked beginning 11 to ensure they’re prepared for the all-important Champions Cup rematch subsequent Wednesday at Estadio BBVA. Final weekend, Ortiz sat 5 regulars for an eventual 2-0 defeat at Membership León.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a workers author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities and he has coated United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Comply with him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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