The Columbus Crew are MLS Cup 2023 presented by Audi champions!
From front to back, here's how the hosts fared while raising the club's third-ever Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
Playing as a left-sided center back in Nancy's 3-4-2-1 system, Amundsen provided arguably the best assist in MLS Cup history. Splitting two lines of LAFC defense in a single moment of pinged perfection, the Dane found Yaw Yeboah perfectly in stride to give the Crew a deserved 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
Camacho locked things down for the Crew. The French center back was rarely tested, as LAFC struggled to create anything memorable, but was solid when called on and added plenty of value with his distribution.
Moreira's ability to pocket Bouanga and still get forward as a right-sided center back/hybrid midfielder was remarkable. He has been fearless on and off the ball all season; on Saturday, he was nearly perfect defensively without sacrificing any effectiveness going forward.
Yeboah grew into the match as things went on and stunned LAFC with a dynamic run and classy finish just before the break. He nearly added to the lead with a mazy run and clipped cross, forcing a last-second intervention from Diego Palacios to prevent a goal. Even more, the Ghanaian wingback limited Ryan Hollingshead's ability to get forward.
Columbus' captain hardly put a foot wrong during his 84 minutes on the pitch, completing 52 of 54 passes and setting the tempo. One of MLS' greatest-ever orchestrators, Nagbe looked exceedingly comfortable with the ball at his feet and gave LAFC's midfield a miserable time.
Starting his second MLS Cup final at just 22 years old, Morris was typically composed and boundlessly energetic. The box-to-box midfielder's on-ball quality is still underrated, and he read the game like a veteran to suffocate LAFC's attack.
Facing his former club in an MLS Cup final, Rossi shifted all over the final third to unbalance LAFC's defense and create dangerous moments. The Uruguay international got on the end of a lightning-quick passing move to earn a first-half penalty kick, then had a chance to kill the game off in the second half.
The quietest player in Columbus' front three, Matan was still a handful for LAFC. He consistently did the unheralded work, acting as the linking piece between midfield and attack, and his defensive work afforded Cucho and Rossi more freedom in their roles.
Nancy's unflinching commitment to playing his style was on full display in the first half. Columbus were dominant in possession, battering LAFC for the first 45 minutes and consistently ripping apart their midfield.
It's hard to think of a head coach who has so singularly and swiftly transformed a team. The Crew went from missing the playoffs in 2022 to winning MLS Cup in 2023 – playing one of the most unwavering, comprehensive and recognizable philosophies of play MLS has seen. It still feels like Nancy, who arrived last December from CF Montréal, is just getting started.
Cheberko came on late to give the Crew some defensive bite, shifting to a back four to withstand LAFC's late push.
Zawadski closed the game out in relief of Nagbe, ultimately helping seal the win.
Ramírez held the ball up strongly to close out the match, giving the Crew's lines a chance to advance and frustrating LAFC in the waning minutes.
Molino subbed on in the 91st minute and immediately got on the ball, relieving pressure and denying LAFC possession as they chased an elusive equalizer.