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Columbus lose Concacaf Champions Cup final to Pachuca

The Columbus Crew suffered a 3-0 defeat at Liga MX side Pachuca on Saturday evening, losing the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup final and an opportunity to qualify for both the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2024 FIFA Intercontinental Cup.

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The Recap

Miami’s defense faltered again, Chicho Arango put on a show and the Crew came up short. Let’s talk it out.

L. Messi (25'), L. Suárez (45+2'), J. Alba (85') | C. Durkin (15'), I. Vassilev (41'), L. Suárez (68' OG)

Chris Durkin scored the goal of his career and everyone went off and running from there in Miami. For the second straight game, Inter Miami allowed three goals, but, this time, they were able to add three goals of their own, including a late equalizer from Jordi Alba on a stellar ball over the top from Julian Gressel.

The Herons shouldn’t be happy with the draw, though. There are genuine problems defensively. They’ve been there for a while. And it seems like their luck is starting to run out. St. Louis piled on 18 shots and 1.85 xG. That puts Miami at six goals allowed and about 5.25 xG allowed over their last two games. With Lionel Messi’s Copa America run with Argentina on the horizon, the Herons need to take the international break to get this sorted.

That’s not to take anything away from St. Louis. They played well in attack for a huge road point. But cracks are starting to show for Miami.

C. Arango (16', 45+5', 71'), A. Julio (24', 31') | A. Ring (90+2')

Chicho Arango casually walked up to the ball at midfield and decided it was time for it to go in the goal. Arango pinged the ball nearly 70 yards, sent it over Brad Stuver’s head and hit the back of the net to casually score one of the best goals in the league's history.

While most of us, knowing we had peaked, would have walked off the field never to touch a ball again, Arango kept going. He added his 15th and 16th goals of the season to earn a hat trick on the night and to power RSL to a massive 5-1 win over Austin. RSL were already the only team in the West with a double-digit goal differential and now they’re up to a league-best +17 mark on the season. They’re one of the league’s most exciting teams and just two points behind Inter Miami in the Shield race. It’s about time to start considering them a Shield contender on the same plane as Inter Miami, FC Cincinnati and LAFC.

T. Ku-DiPietro (79'), M. Klich (90+5') | D. Etienne Jr. (2') , F. Bernardeschi (33', Red Card 87'), N. Gomis (Red Card 90+3')

Derrick Etienne Jr. found the net for the first time for his new club and Federico Bernardeschi scored from a tight angle to put Toronto up two on the road. When Christian Benteke left the game later in the half with a non-contact injury, things felt dire for D.C. But Ted Ku-DiPietro pulled a goal back in the 79th minute and Toronto began to help them open the window to steal a point. Bernardeschi picked up a second yellow for the second time in six games, Nicksoen Gomis picked up a red with a foul in the box, and D.C.’s Mateusz Klich converted the penalty.

D.C. shouldn’t be happy with a draw considering the start of the game, but at least they came away with a point. That doesn’t make them any less frustrating, though.

Toronto are fine, but my goodness, Bernardeschi, you’ve got to stay on the field, man. The Reds are winless in the three games since their 5-1 win over Montréal and not having Bernardeschi available won’t help them correct that.

H. Cuypers (32'), B. Gutiérrez (61') | R. Puig (7')

Uhhh, sure. Why not?

Hugo Cuypers scored from close range and Brian Gutiérrez scored from distance to give Chicago a home lead against the Galaxy that, for once, they didn’t relinquish. The 14th-place Fire pulled off the upset of the night and the Galaxy fell a little bit further behind the top teams in the West. Road games are hard, but the more data we get, the more it seems like LA might still be a step behind the best of the best.

D. Gazdag (56'), M. Uhre (58'), J. Elliott (Red Card 63') | S. Ibrahim (1'), A. Lassiter (Red Card 45'), S. Piette (66')

CF Montréal scored 50 seconds in and it would only get weirder from there. Ariel Lassiter got sent off for violent conduct and the Union eventually capitalized to grab two goals in quick succession and the lead. Moments later, Jack Elliot went in for a challenge and came away with a red card. The Union… I’ll say the Union probably have some genuine complaints with that one. Especially considering Sam Piette found the net immediately after to tie things up 2-2.

The Union, once the best home team in the league, haven’t won at Subaru Park in five games. It’s been a strange year.

For Montréal, any points they pick up during their current injury crisis are good points. It’s all about survival right now. A four-point week like this one is huge.

T. Oluwaseyi (33'), R. Lod (67'), K. Arriaga (83') | J. Russell (86')

The Loons were in total control here. Tani Oluwaseyi has seven goals and four assists in 620 minutes now and Minnesota are averaging 1.87 points per game.

Sporting KC have 0.69 points per game. They’ve lost seven straight. Their next four games are Seattle, LA, RSL and Columbus. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

LAFC - 1 | FC DALLAS - 0
D. Bouanga (74')

LAFC stayed in control and – you won’t believe it – Denis Bounga eventually broke through. LAFC have won five straight since their 3-1 loss to San Jose, and all five have come via clean sheet. They’re in a groove and their schedule isn’t getting difficult anytime soon. They’re five points behind Inter Miami in the Shield race with two games in hand and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they caught up soon.

S. Berhalter (46'), D. Kreilach (90+1') | D. Mihailovic (50')

Damir Kreilach (!) saved the day with a stoppage-time winner for the Whitecaps after a long throw-in eventually ended up at his feet directly in front of goal. Vancouver have won two in a row for the first time since April 6 and jumped to fifth in the West with the win. They’re just three points behind LA for a top-four spot in the conference.

The Rapids… at least they only gave up two goals instead of three? They’ve allowed 16 goals over their last six games. They have one win in that span.

J. Tolkin (38')

John Tolkin buried a free kick (with some help from Pedro Gallese) and that was that. The Red Bulls kept Orlando quiet and rolled to a win that kept them equal on points with New York City FC.

Orlando have scored two goals in their last five games. Nothing seems to be getting better for the Lions.

F. Mora (37'), N. Fogaça (76') | S. Kowalczyk (9'), C. Carrasquilla (50')

Nathan Fogaça found the equalizer for Portland here. The Timbers have quietly crept back into a playoff spot this week. They’re just three points out of sixth place. The West has started to look a lot more like the not-so-elite West we expected at the start of the season.

That includes Houston. The Dynamo have two wins in their last nine games.

H. Mukhtar (80') | C. Gil (18'), E. Bajraktarevic (51')

Nashville were awarded two penalties against the worst team in the league and still lost. Yikes. It’s a low point for a team that hasn’t had a ton of those in their short history.

Congrats to the Revs on finally reaching a double-digit point total.

S. Rondón (12', 67'), M. Rodriguez (32’)

Welp. We talked yesterday about Pachuca’s firepower and they showed off every bit of it here. In particular, Salomón Rondón seemed to have it out for MLS teams this tournament. He scored early to send Los Tuzos off and running and the Crew, already fighting an uphill battle, didn’t get back in the game for the first time in a long time. Pachuca are champions of Concacaf for the sixth time. 2022 Seattle is still the only MLS team to win the modern Concacaf Champions competition.

The question now is if the Crew are set for a Concacaf hangover or if they’re prepared to make a push for silverware again. In my view, they came out of this competition without serious injury and get the international break to recover. I’d imagine they’ll be a lot more like last year’s LAFC side than 2022 Seattle. They may not be challenging for the Shield like they could have without CCC, but they’ll certainly be pushing for a top-four spot in the East.

This is still clearly one of the best teams in the league after all. And even if the final didn’t go their way, what they’ve accomplished over the last few months is still one of the most remarkable runs in MLS history.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Take the opportunity as soon as it arises.