What CCC hangover? Columbus Crew rally for "massive" win


The Columbus Crew had plenty of work to do.

In their first game following a loss to Pachuca in the Concacaf Champions Cup final, they trailed red-hot New York City FC 1-0 at halftime. That was also following an hour-long weather delay, pushing back kickoff Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

But any talk of a CCC hangover was put on the back-burner thanks to three goals in 17 minutes, powering the Crew to a 3-2 comeback victory.

“We lost the final, it was so difficult emotionally,” Columbus head coach Wilfried Nancy said. “We had a delayed game. We were here for many hours and my team finds a way to stay on the task, to fight, to score goals. Yes, we conceded, but to finish the game and have a win like this, for me they deserve it. I’m really proud of them for sure.”

The win, the club’s fourth straight away from home, meant more to the defending MLS Cup champions than just the three points.

“We are going in the right direction,” said defender Malte Amundsen. “It’s a win that means a lot in many ways, especially because we had the chance tonight to come back after a disappointing game in Mexico. So coming here with the streak that NYCFC has been on was going to be difficult and we matched that.

“We know we have quality, but to see that we also are able to suffer and get away [with a win] means a lot and that’s what we also will need eventually. Great test for us tonight.”

NYCFC, which saw their five-match winning streak snapped, went down a man after Mitja Ilenic was sent off in the 38th minute. But the hosts entered the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to Agustín Ojeda’s go-ahead strike and more stellar goalkeeping from Matt Freese.

The Crew then showed their championship mettle in the second half, with Christian Ramírez (48’), Mo Farsi (53’) and Cucho Hernández (65’) scoring in quick succession to grab full control of the match.

Cucho’s penalty kick, his 15th goal in his last 18 regular-season appearances, was particularly vital because Santi Rodríguez pulled the hosts back a goal in the 86th minute and NYCFC pushed for the equalizer in 14 minutes of second-half stoppage time.

"We try to write our own story," Nancy said. "This is what we do."

With games in hand on the four teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference, Columbus are third in the East on points per game (1.8) before Wednesday's trip to Inter Miami CF (7:30 pm ET | Apple TV - Free).

“It’s a massive one,” Farsi said. “It just shows how good we are mentally.”