Soccer

Columbus Crew Set To Face Monterrey in Concacaf Champions Cup Semis

Liga MX's Monterrey are coming to Columbus to square off against the Crew in the first leg of a Champions Cup semis matchup.

April 23, 2024

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than seven years since the Crew nearly bolted Columbus for Austin. Since then, the team has won two MLS Cup titles, built an amazing state-of-the-art stadium, will host this year’s MLS All-Star Game, and next will compete in the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals at home against Monterrey on Wednesday.

The Crew and Monterrey will kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET at Lower.com Field in the first of two legs. The second leg of Crew vs Monterrey will be played on May 1 in Mexico.

The other two-leg semifinal is between Liga MX teams Pachuca and America.

It’s the furthest that the Crew have ever advanced in the Champions Cup. They punched their ticket to the semis by beating Tigres last week.

“It continues to be a dream come true,” says Crew fan Morgan Hughes, who helped lead the “Save the Crew” effort to keep the team in Columbus in 2017. “From the depths of 2017 to a new story being written, from the best team in the league to playing for continental hardware.

“It continues to redefine the best case scenario of what we can let ourselves dream of happening.”

Wednesday is going to be a tough assignment for the Crew. Monterrey, in its past two Champions Cup matches, eliminated Lionel Messi and Inter Miami and previously FC Cincinnati, who won the 2023 Supporters Shield for best record in the MLS.

Los Rayados have won the Liga MX — the top competition in Mexico — five times. In the 2021 CONCACAF Champions Cup, they eliminated the Crew in the quarterfinals. And Monterrey is the No. 1-ranked club in CONCACAF, while the Crew are No. 5.

But the Crew have been nearly invincible at Lower.com, where they have not lost in 21 straight MLS matches. In the Champions Cup, the Crew haven’t allowed more than a goal in any of their matches and conceded the opening goal in both their legs against Tigres, only to ultimately prevail.

Monterrey, however, has been a bit vulnerable on the road as of late. Rayados have lost two straight away Liga MX games.

Crew megafan Hughes says he and some friends are trying to get tickets to the second leg in Monterrey, where hopefully the Crew can advance to the Champions Cup final.

“Winnng the Champions Cup would be more noteworthy, but to me nothing is bigger than winning the MLS Cup,” Hughes says. “To global onlookers, the Crew winning the Champions Cup would be the biggest thing since ‘Save the Crew.'”

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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