Crew Coverage

Crew Coverage pres. by Medical Mutual | Nancy: Crew ‘got punished’ in draw at MNUFC

Throughout the regular season last year, Columbus Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy said every match was an opportunity to learn and grow. Nancy is taking a similar approach to start 2024.

On Saturday afternoon, the Crew held a one-goal lead deep into second-half stoppage time before Minnesota United FC equalized. So, instead of earning three points in the Club’s first road game this season, the Black & Gold had to split the points after playing to a 1-1 draw at Allianz Field.

“The last three minutes we, the game has to be done,” Nancy said afterward. “We were one up with three minutes. Again, when we decide to clear the ball, we have to clear the ball. We don't have to just push the ball. When we decide to install, we have to be clear to install. We took a goal on a throw in. We didn’t clear the ball. We touched the ball a few times.

“The goal that we conceded, honestly, this is a goal that we cannot concede because it's a throw in, and we have to better with that. At the same time, we had the possibility to do better, and we didn't do it, so we got punished.”

Columbus played well on Saturday afternoon. At one point, the visitors had 80% of the possession and continued to generate the best attacking chances – and the strongest defensive play.

After a scoreless first half Cucho Hernández put the Crew ahead in the 59th minute when he finished a low-hit shot from outside the box. Cucho has scored two goals in the past two games and has 13 goal contributions in his last 10 regular season appearances.

The Crew looked set to earn three points until the away side couldn’t produce a late clearance and Tani Oluwaseyi found the equalizer for the home side.

“Overall, honestly, it was a good game,” Nancy said. “Many, many goals that we can score, but we didn't do it. For me, this is only the three minutes [at the end of the match]. Yes, we conceded a goal, but I would have had also the same message with the players because the last three minutes, we have to be more clear in terms of decision making.”

Once the final whistle blew, it was clear the Crew players were frustrated with the final result. By the time Nancy attended the post-match press conference, he said the team had addressed the late equalizer and how to learn from it.

“They tried to sort it out, and it was good to see that they're trying to figure out how to get better in this moment,” he said. “Tomorrow we're going to see it, and we're going to watch the last five minutes together to learn from that and also, not to say, ‘You did that. You did that.’ It's just to create this situation that they have to see what we can do better because we did a good game. …Details, this is something that we have to keep pushing.”

Attention now turns to a different competition: the Concacaf Champions Cup.

On Wednesday night, the Crew play their first match of the continental tournament at the Houston Dynamo in Leg 1 of the Round of 16. The Black & Gold will then host the second leg at Field on Mar. 12. Claim your ticket today.

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