Columbus Crew dethrone LAFC to win 3rd MLS Cup title


Columbus hang on vs. LAFC to win MLS Cup

Two first-half goals are enough for Columbus Crew to secure a 2-1 win over LAFC to win the 2023 MLS Cup.

The Columbus Crew beat defending champion LAFC 2-1 on Saturday to win their third MLS Cup title.

Columbus, playing at its home Field, dominated the first half to take a two-goal lead through a Cucho Hernández penalty and a Yaw Yeboah strike.

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LAFC pulled a goal back in the second half through Golden Boot winner Dénis Bouanga in the 74th minute but Columbus held on for a deserved win.

The Crew, one of the league's original clubs, previously won MLS Cup titles in 2008 and 2020. Only the LA Galaxy (five) and D.C. United (four) have won more titles.

Los Angeles, a 2018 expansion team, was looking to become the fourth MLS team to win consecutive titles after beating the Philadelphia Union in last year's MLS Cup.

The result was a defeat in a third major final for LAFC this season. The Black and Gold lost the Concacaf Champions League title to Liga MX's Club Leon and the Campeones Cup to Tigres UANL.

Cucho Hernández's goal set Columbus on its path to claiming a third MLS Cup title on Saturday.
Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Under first-year coach Wilfried Nancy, the Crew dominated possession early on and LAFC's defense succumbed when a Diego Palacios handball in the 31st minute led to a goal by Hernandez, who slotted home his penalty.

The Crew doubled its lead four minutes later when Malte Amundsen made one of the best assists of the season with a through ball to Yeboah, who put the ball away to delight the rain-soaked, gold-and-black clad fans.

LAFC, whose style relies on counter attacking, never got into gear in the first half and Crew keeper Patrick Schulte was not forced to make a save until close to half-time.

After the break, Carlos Vela, playing what could be his final game for LAFC, tried to capitalize on a defensive miscue but his shot went directly into the arms of Schulte.

LAFC finally responded in the 74th minute when Jesús Murillo stole the ball in the Crew's half and found an open Bouanga, whose first attempt hit Schulte in the face.

Bouanga fired the rebound home to cut the deficit but the Crew defense held out to ensure victory on a rainy day in Central Ohio. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.