Columbus Crew's Cucho Hernández named MLS Cup 2023 MVP pres. by Audi


From club-record signing to MLS Cup 2023 MVP presented by Audi, Cucho Hernández has officially secured his status as a Columbus Crew all-time great.

The 24-year-old Colombian international striker shined brightest Saturday afternoon at Field, winning Most Valuable Player honors as his game-opening penalty kick sparked a 2-1 Crew win over LAFC.

After Diego Palacios was called for a handball inside the box, Cucho sent Black & Gold goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau the other way from the spot to break the ice in the 33rd minute. Yaw Yeboah added a second for the hosts four minutes later, before Dénis Bouanga added some late drama by pulling one back for LAFC in the second half.

Columbus held on in the end, capturing their third league crown. And Hernández joined an exclusive club of Columbus MLS Cup MVPs, following in the footsteps of fellow South American greats Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2008) and Lucas Zelarayán (2020).

Cucho, who joined the Crew midway through last season from England's Watford FC for a reported $10 million, notched 16g/11a during the regular season to finish fourth in the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race. He also placed on the Best XI presented by Continental Tire.

Cucho continued his torrid pace during the playoffs by contributing 5g/2a as Columbus vanquished Atlanta United (Round One), Orlando City SC (Conference Semifinals), FC Cincinnati (Conference Final) and, lastly, LAFC, to win MLS Cup.