Crew Coverage

Crew Coverage pres. by Medical Mutual | Nancy: ‘Happy’ with Crew’s win in his Montréal homecoming

In head coach Wilfried Nancy’s return to Montréal, the Columbus Crew produced an emotional – and emphatic – 4-2 win on Saturday night that saw the club enter international break with momentum.

Led by a Cucho Hernández hat trick, the attack was free flowing and overwhelming for CF Montréal – and a great way to end a three-match week, Nancy said after the win.

“The players wanted to do something special for the staff and for themselves and to win more games,” Nancy said of the team mentality entering the match. “I’m really proud of that. The Houston game was not easy and [Saturday] they were able, after three days, to come back and get the win. It was not the best game we’ve made, but they did it well. For me, I am happy.”

The first goal came in the 14th minute from a wonderful team buildup. Starting from the Crew’s left side of the 18-yard box, players worked the ball down to the opposite corner in Montréal corner. From there, Julian Gressel played a cross into the box for Gabriele Corbo to knock into his own net.

The second came in the 22nd minute through a beautiful setup and finish. First, Malte Amundsen played a long ball that hugged the left touchline toward Diego Rossi in the corner. From there, the playmaker whipped a cross into the box, where Cucho was free for a thumping header.

The Crew’s third was another moment where the visitors converted via a swift counter. Darlington Nagbe played a cross-field ball toward Christian Ramirez, who backheeled it to a sprinting Yaw Yeboah. The Ghanian dribbled in on goal and played a pass through the box to Cucho for a left-footed finish.

Kwadwo Opoku allowed the home side to dent the Crew’s lead in the 52nd, but Cucho gave Columbus another three-goal lead with his third in the 65th from a converted penalty.

It was a perfect hat trick – he scored a header and with both feet – and was his first since he was 16. The hat trick was also the Crew’s first in nearly five years, when Gyasi Zardes achieved the feat Oct. 28, 2018 against Minnesota United FC. 

“Cucho had already done a game like this and now he’s getting better in terms of trying to be consistent,” Nancy said. “He stayed patience and stayed on the task. Today, this is the reward. Now, he is getting better.”

Cucho now has 10 goals and 10 assists for Columbus. Both stats lead the club. 

Montréal made the match 4-2 in the 68th, but the Crew held on to produce a third road win of the season. The Black & Gold remain fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games left in the regular season.  

The Crew’s performance was impressive. Nancy said there were “chaotic” moments, but never ones where the visitors were in doubt. And that was exactly what Nancy wanted and deserved in his homecoming to his old club where he coached last season. 

“Thank you to the fans of Montréal because of the ways they welcomed me,” he said. “Honestly, I was grateful of that. Yes, it was emotion. I can’t lie. I am a human. Life is crazy in a good way. Sometimes, life can be cruel, but my point was I was in the visitor locker room, but I started my career in 2010 in Montréal in this locker room … I was proud of me but also proud of what I did in my life. That’s why I do this job. It was a good moment.”

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