Columbus Crew snatch lead in Concacaf Champions Cup semis vs. Monterrey


Goals from Cucho Hernández and Jacen Russell-Rowe have the Columbus Crew sporting a 2-1 aggregate lead in their Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals series with CF Monterrey following Wednesday's Leg 1 at Field.

With a spot in the tournament final on June 2 on the line, Columbus will look to close the series out when they head to Estadio BBVA for the second leg on May 1.

Amid a back-and-forth start to the match, Columbus broke through with a deserved series opener in the 25th minute via Cucho. The star Colombian striker worked a nifty combination play with Russell-Rowe to set up a clinical finish from the top of the penalty area.

The 1-0 lead wouldn't last, however, as the visitors struck back with an all-important road goal in the 58th minute. A giveaway by Columbus set Jesús Gallardo loose on a counterattack down the left side, with his cross finding the feet of Maximiliano Meza for a tap-in finish.

But the Crew ensured they'd enter Leg 2 at Estadio BBVA in the driver's seat, courtesy of Russell-Rowe's go-ahead strike in the 72nd minute. The 21-year-old Canadian finished off a perfectly executed corner kick routine by noddng home a flicked header assist from Sean Zawadzki.


  • 25' - CLB - Cucho Hernández | WATCH
  • 58' - MTY - Maximiliano Meza | WATCH
  • 72' - CLB - Jacen Russell-Rowe | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The Crew find themselves with the lead after this entertaining, high-level series opener. But it’s the slimmest of margins thanks to Monterrey’s road goal, setting up a fascinating second leg in Mexico. There's a long way to go to finish the job, but Wilfried Nancy's side have given themselves a fighting chance at taking down another Liga MX opponent following their penalty-kick triumph over Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Meza’s goal could have taken the wind out of the Crew’s sails. Instead, Russell-Rowe provided the hosts with a massive response.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: With an assist on Cucho’s opener and the go-ahead goal, Russell-Rowe was certainly up for the occasion in one of the biggest matches of his young career.

Next Up

  • CLB: Saturday, April 27 vs. CF Montréal | 7:30 pm ET (Apple TV - Free) | MLS regular season
  • MTY: Sunday, April 28 at Club Necaxa | 8 pm ET | Liga MX Clausura