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Columbus host Monterrey in Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal

Columbus Crew host Liga MX powerhouse CF Monterrey tonight as they begin their two-legged semifinal series in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. Kickoff is set for 8:15 pm on FS1 and TUDN.

Inter Miami sign Paraguayan midfielder Rojas

Inter Miami CF have signed attacking midfielder Matías Rojas. He was a free agent after last playing for Brazilian top-flight side Corinthians. The 28-year-old is under contract through the 2024 MLS season with options for 2025-26 – reuniting with Paraguay teammate Diego Gómez on the Herons.

New England sign goalkeeper Ivacic

The New England Revolution have signed goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic through the 2025 MLS season. To help make room for the 30-year-old Slovenia native, the Revs also waived 2022 MLS SuperDraft pick Jacob Jackson. Ivacic posted eight shutouts in 54 appearances for the Portland Timbers between 2020-23 before being waived last month.

New England acquire Arreaga from Seattle

The New England Revolution have acquired center back Xavier Arreaga from Seattle Sounders FC. In exchange for the 29-year-old Ecuador international defender, Seattle receive a 2025 international roster spot and $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) if certain performance metrics are met. Arreaga, an MLS Cup (2019) and Concacaf Champions League (2022) winner, has 3g/2a in 101 regular-season appearances since joining Seattle from Ecuadorian top-flight side Barcelona SC in 2019. Once a mainstay of Seattle's backline, he'd fallen behind Yeimar and Jackson Ragen on the depth chart in recent seasons.

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Five reasons the Crew can upset Rayados

You probably already know the Crew can get this done. If you’ve been paying attention, you know they can compete with anyone in the region. But this is an uphill battle. When Monterrey are in this competition, they win it. They’ve lost six times in 46 Concacaf Champions Cup games since 2008. They’ve been in this competition six times before this year. They have five titles. It’s going to take a special performance from the Crew.

We know they have it in them though. Here’s why.

1. Proof of concept

They didn’t accidentally beat Tigres in the last round. They didn’t accidentally win MLS Cup last season. They have an unrelenting belief in their system, and the big wins to back up that belief. They’re going to keep possession and they’re going to get their wingbacks forward and they’re going to keep their foot on the gas. They won’t change their style just because it’s Rayados. There are no self-fulfilling prophecies on the way to ruin the Crew. That goes a long way in a setting like this.

2. Cucho Hernández

Monterrey have a ton of quality, but you can still make an argument for Cucho as the best player on the field in this one. His ability to find space and create room for himself and his teammates is on par with the absolute best players in the region (non-Messi division). He’s good enough to make a difference for this group at home and away.

3. The center backs in possession

Every other week a Crew center back pulls something incredible out of their bag while they’re on the ball. Whether it’s a line-splitting through ball that finds a wingback running in behind or Steven Moreira loading up to score one of the goals of the season from distance, Columbus don’t suffer when their back three have possession. That’s huge against a team like Monterrey who can feast on turnovers and transition opportunities. The back three will play a huge role tonight in making sure giveaways are limited, along with…

4. Darlington Nagbe

He might be the best MLS midfielder of all time. He’s certainly the most press resistant. And he’s a major reason why the Crew feel so comfortable getting numbers forward. When you have Nagbe dictating the game from central areas and Aidan Morris alongside him to clean up any mistakes, you have the kind of midfield that can go toe-to-toe with an elite team and take control of the game.

5. The first shot

The Crew get the first home match. Whether or not that’s typically an advantage is up for some debate, but, in this case, I think it is. Columbus have to set a tone and put Monterrey on the back foot for Leg 2 in Nuevo León. You have to apply some pressure to pull off an upset.

The Crew can do that tonight at Lower.com Field, as long as they don’t become overwhelmed by the moment. Considering what we’ve seen from them over the last year, I’d be shocked if they were.

Other things

Marshmello & PinkPantheress to perform at 2024 MLS All-Star Concert: Grammy-nominated artist and producer Marshmello, with a special appearance by multi-platinum recording artist PinkPantheress, will headline the 2024 MLS All-Star Concert presented by Target on Sunday, July 21 at Nationwide Arena. The star-studded performance will serve as the official kickoff event leading up to the 2024 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday, July 24 at Lower.com Field, home of reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew.

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Good luck out there. Stick it out ‘till the end.