Crew Coverage

Crew Coverage pres. by Medical Mutual | Nancy: Crew showed ‘desire to keep going’ in draw with Portland Timbers

Twice Saturday night, the Columbus Crew found themselves trailing by a goal, and twice, they fought back to equalize. And had the birthday boy Cucho Hernández’s last-kick free kick been three inches to the left, Columbus would’ve had three points. 

That upbeat mentality was the approach head coach Wilfried Nancy took following the 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Field. The Black & Gold didn’t win, but they continued generating chances and proved the reigning league champs are still a handful to deal with. 

“We come back 1-1, and after that, the second goal that they scored, I was upset because we could have done better on this one,” Nancy said. “We had the momentum, and the momentum is really important. We have key moments for that. I have nothing to say in terms of the way they handled the 2-2 when they came back because they kept pushing, they kept playing and I think that with more minutes that maybe we could have scored this goal. We almost [did]. 

“We were close to scoring this goal with Cucho on the inch like this. In terms of this desire to keep going and to compete, they did it. After that, we were missing [the moment] to avoid the second goal or how to score another goal.”

The Crew trailed early when Felipe Mora scored 10 minutes into the match. But Cucho leveled the game in the 51st minute when his first-hit finish capped a nicely-worked buildup from the right flank.

The goal was his third in six league appearances this season, and his 29th across 50 MLS appearances since 2022. Cucho’s also registered 16 goal contributions –14 goals, two assists – in his last 15 MLS regular season matches.

Portland responded seven minutes later, but it was a world-class strike from Steven Moreira that leveled the match once more in the 74th minute. With space 30 yards out, Moreira casually smashed a shot into the top left corner for his second MLS goal (Both have been unreal, by the way).

“I wanted to show like I know all the time my teammates or hundreds of fans asked me to shoot more,” he said. “And today I just take my chance and it was a good goal.”

The Crew nearly sealed the win in second-half stoppage time through a late free kick, but Cucho’s effort smacked the inside of the right post and bounced back into play. 

Nancy said he was pleased with his team’s performance and how the Black & Gold have looked through roughly 25% of the league fixtures. 

“I feel good. I feel good with my team,” the coach said. “Yes, in terms of results, we did many ties, but in terms of what we want to do in terms of performance, we are here. After that, we are missing maybe to attack the box and to have more chances. Defensively, we conceded two goals today, but we are pretty OK for the moment. We are on the right path. This is more about the results.”

Attention now turns to a massive match on Wednesday night when the Crew host CF Monterrey in leg one of the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals at Field. This is a historic event and marks the first time Columbus has advanced to the semis in the continent’s biggest tournament. Don’t miss your chance to witness history.

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