Columbus Crew make history, advance to CONCACAF Champions Cup final

Columbus Crew make history, advance to CONCACAF Champions Cup final

MONTERREY, Mexico (WCMH) – The list of firsts continues to grow for the Columbus Crew, which is now one step closer to claiming yet another title.

For the first time in program history, the Crew will vie for the CONCACAF Champions Cup after dominating the second half of a semifinal match at Monterrey. The Crew, trailing 1-0 late in the first half, scored three unanswered goals to win the match 3-1 and coast to a 5-2 aggregate victory over Monterrey, Wednesday night in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

The Crew got on the board after capitalizing on a costly mistake by Monterrey keeper Esteban Andrada, whose throw out of Monterrey’s box was intercepted by Aidan Morris in first-half stoppage time.

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Morris dribbled right and sent a low shot to the left corner of the net to tie the match 1-1 and lifting the Crew to a one-goal aggregate lead, 3-2.

Four minutes into the second half, Alex Matan took a midfield pass and strolled through the center of the defense. As Monterrey collapsed on Matan, he fed Diego Rossi, who knifed his way through the last line of defense and fired a shot past the outstretched leg of Andrada.

The Crew held off Los Rayodos over the next 40 minutes, thanks in part to Patrick Schulte’s six saves, including five in the second half and two from point-blank range in the 68th minute after he swatted a header and rebound shot out of harms way.

Monterrey’s pressure allowed the Crew’s counterattack to seal the victory in the 89th minute when Derrick Jones forced a turnover. Matan scooped up the loose ball and led a streaking Jacen Russell-Rowe past a trio of Monterrey defenders. Russell-Rowe lured Andrada to the upper left corner of the 18-box and wrapped the breakaway shot around the keeper for the final blow.

The Crew advance to face CF Pachuca in a one-match, winner-take-all Champions Cup final in Mexico at 9:15 p.m. on June 1.

Columbus aims to become just the second Major League Soccer team to win the tournament after Seattle became the first in 2022. The Crew can also secure a spot in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, which will be played in the United States from June 15 to July 13. Next year’s tournament is the first that will include 32 teams from across the globe, including four from the CONCACAF region.

In the immediate future, the Black and Gold turn its attention to FC Cincinnati in the Hell is Real series. The teams will meet at Field on Saturday, May 11 at 7:45 p.m. The last time the Ohio rivals met was the 2023 Eastern Conference Final, where Columbus came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in extra time.

The Crew (3-1-6), currently in fifth place of the Eastern Conference with 15 points, are on a five-game tie streak in MLS action. Cincinnati (5-2-3) sits in second place and is 2-2 over four games in April.

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2025 FIFA Club World Cup participants

Asia (4): Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan), Ulsan HD (South Korea), Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan) or Al Ain (UAE)

Africa (4): Al Ahly (Egypt), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)

CONCACAF (4): Monterrey (Mexico), Seattle Sounders (USA), Club Leon (Mexico), Pachuca (Mexico) or Columbus Crew (USA)

South America (6): Palmeiras (Brazil), Flamengo (Brazil), Fluminense (Brazil), TBDTBDTBD

Oceania (1): Auckland City (New Zealand)

Europe (12): Chelsea (England), Real Madrid (Spain), Manchester City (England), Bayern Munich (Germany), PSG (France), Inter Milan (Italy), Porto (Portugal), Benfica (Portugal), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Juventus (Italy), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)

United States (1 as host): TBD

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