CHAMPIONS! Columbus Crew lift MLS Cup 2023 over LAFC

CHAMPIONS! Columbus Crew lift MLS Cup 2023 over LAFC

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CHAMPIONS! Columbus Crew lift MLS Cup 2023 over LAFC
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Head coach Wilfried Nancy’s team produced a masterclass performance Saturday at rain-soaked Lower.com Field, resulting in the Eastern Conference club’s third-ever MLS Cup after their 2008 and 2020 squads also entered the history books as champions.

First-half goals from Cucho Hern├índez (33′) and Yaw Yeboah (37′) gave Columbus a cushion to absorb a D├ęnis Bouanga (74′) lifeline, denying LAFC’s MLS Cup repeat quest. In the process, head coach Wilfried Nancy’s group has climbed the 29-team mountaintop that began with MLS is Back weekend on Feb. 25.

Before raising the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy, Columbus pulled ahead through Cucho’s authoritative penalty kick ÔÇô helping him earn MLS Cup MVP presented by Audi honors and finish with an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs co-leading five goals. That opportunity arose when referee Armando Villarreal pointed to the spot, judging LAFC defender Diego Palacios to have handled a flicked-up touch from Diego Rossi.

The Crew, the league’s highest-scoring team in 2023, quickly doubled their advantage when Yeboah capped an 11-pass buildup. The Crew’s left wingback was on the receiving end of Malte Amundsen’s line-splitting through ball, then sliced home an outside-the-foot finish past goalkeeper Maxime Cr├ępeau.

But, as was so often the case in 2023, Bouanga would not be silenced. The Best XI forward slipped a second-effort shot past goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, drawing him level with teammate Carlos Vela for the most calendar-year goals (38) in MLS across all competitions (Vela’s MVP-winning 2019).

The Black & Gold’s late push fizzled out, though. And the hosts, after seven minutes of second-half stoppage time, were left dancing as champions.



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CHAMPIONS! Columbus Crew lift MLS Cup 2023 over LAFC

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