Soccer

Columbus Crew Seek Another Trophy in CONCACAF Champions Cup Final

After winning last year's MLS Cup, Columbus is on the verge of another big North American title.

May 29, 2024

For the second time in less than half a year, the Columbus Crew are poised to reach another pinnacle — this time, it’s bragging rights over an entire continent.

On Saturday, second-year coach Wilfried Nancy leads his club against CF Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup Final at Estadio Hidalgo, the home field of Pachuca. Kickoff is at 9:15 p.m. ET and will be shown on FS1.

What is the Champions Cup?

The CONCACAF Champions Cup is played every year and determines the best club in North America, just as the UEFA Champions League determines the best club in Europe. The CONCACAF Champions Cup includes clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The tournament begins in February and culminates in late spring with the final.

The Crew-Pachuca winner will secure the fourth and final spot in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup. A Crew victory would also mark only the third time since 2000 that a MLS club has won the CONCACAF tournament. The Seattle Sounders won the title in 2022, and LA Galaxy won in 2000.

From MLS to CONCACAF Champs?

It could be another big trophy for the Crew, who on December 9 defeated Los Angeles FC 2-1 to win their third MLS Cup title and second in four years.

“It’s probably different for everyone, but to me, winning MLS Cup is the apex of soccer in America,” says Morgan Hughes, who spearheaded the Save the Crew movement that helped keep the franchise in Columbus in 2018.

“Obviously, as a fan you want to win every competition, especially a continental final, but they only put stars above your badge for winning the MLS Cup.”

Amidst their 2024 MLS season, the Crew emerged from the CONCACAF Champions Cup Round of 16 to reach the final. The matches included:

  • Columbus 1, Houston 0 (first leg) — round of 16, March 6
  • Columbus 1, Houston 1 (second leg) — round of 16, March 12
  • Columbus 1, Tigres 1 (first leg) — quarterfinals, April 2
  • Columbus 1 (4), Tigres 1 (3) (second leg) — quarterfinals, April 9
  • Columbus 2, Monterrey 2 (first leg) — semifinals, April 24
  • Columbus 3, Monterrey 1 (second leg) — semifinals, May 1

Under head coach Nancy, the Black & Gold are unbeaten against LIGA MX sides, with a 3-0-2 record.

“Winning the third MLS cup last year was unexpected and unbelievable,” said BIGPLAY’s Chris McNeil (check him out on X here and read all his Tipico content here). “It was a run for the ages. But as great as it was and while winning the MLS Cup again last year was historic, winning the CONCACAF would truly be making history. It would be stamping the Crew shield permanently on the world stage.”

Even though the Crew will be competing in hostile territory on Saturday, Nancy’s squad has won three straight MLS road games — 3-1 at Montreal, 3-1 at Chicago and 2-1 at Orlando.

“Winning the last three games on the road has been huge for us and definitely provides a good bit of momentum going into another tough road match where the final’s on the line,” goalkeeper Patrick Schulte told MLSSoccer.com. “It’s definitely good to have three wins behind your name going into that game, but we also know it’s a final and the last three games don’t matter. So we just gotta get up and get ready for it just like any other game.”

Beating Orlando moved the defending MLS champion Crew into fourth place in the Eastern Conference and gave them momentum as they shift their focus to the CONCACAF title match.

The Crew hopes Diego Rossi stays hot. He scored twice in Saturday’s win over Orlando and has now scored in three straight matches. Rossi has four goals and two assists over his past four games.

Rossi’s surge has helped compensate for the absence of Crew star Cucho Hernandez, who has missed three straight matches with a lower back injury. Cucho, who has four goals in nine MLS games this season, could return to the team against Hidalgo on Saturday.

As of Wednesday, Tipico has CF Pachuca listed as -170 moneyline favorites and the Crew at +390. A draw (prior to penalty kicks to determine the winner) is listed at +340.

Props include total goals, first goal, first-half winner, and others. Click here to log in or register with Tipico to place a bet on the Cup final.

Alex Valdes
Alex Valdes is Web Content Manager at Tipico North America. He has written, edited and performed user and site analysis at MoneyTalksNews, NBC Sports, MSN, Bing, MSNBC, as well as newspapers and magazines.
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