On Saturday night, the Columbus Crew saw a two-goal lead disappear, which led to a frustrating draw. Afterward, players and head coach Wilfried Nancy alike said the result was a learning experience for the club.
Consider the lesson learned, as the Crew once again had a 2-0 lead four days later, but this time earned a clean sheet to beat the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night at Lower.com Field.
“I believe that when you are 2-0, the best way to do it is to do it the way we did it the last 10 minutes,” Nancy said after beating the Galaxy. “Everything is dynamic. So, we scored, we could have scored more goals. And after that, we didn't concede but in the second half, it was a bit difficult for us.
“So, I like the reaction of the players, they were able to adjust. So, we didn't drop but we changed a bit the way we defended and I like it. I like it because this is another way to keep the result because they deserve it. My players deserved it.”
The Crew scored the opening goal in the 25th minute when Cucho Hernández split a through ball through two defenders toward Lucas Zelarayán, who dribbled in on goal and poked a shot to the back post for his fifth goal of the season.
Through 10 league appearances this season, Zelarayán has five goals and three assists. As for Cucho, he has a goal and four assists in six appearances.
The Crew’s second goal arrived in the 43rd minute, and it was the first for defender Malte Amundsen since he joined the Crew from New York City FC in April.
The goal sequence started when Darlington Nagbe played the ball wide to Alexandru Matan. The Romanian then delivered a cross to the back post, where Amundsen was there to double the lead in his first league start for Columbus.
“Good for him to start the game, it was not easy because again the way we try to play, with a lot of humility, we have different concepts,” Nancy said of Amundsen. “So, he has been able to adjust, after that he has to recognize certain moments a little bit quicker. But good for him that he scored.
“But the most important thing for me was how he defended and how he was able to also get the link with the other players. So, we have the success at certain moments and other moments we have to keep working with that.”
As Nancy noted during his post-match press conference, there were times when the Galaxy produced solid attacking opportunities, but the Black & Gold kept the visitors scoreless and earned a first clean sheet since Apr. 8 at D.C. United.
With the win, the Crew now sits fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and is days aways from the Hell is Real Derby on Saturday night at FC Cincinnati. The Crew is unbeaten at TQL Stadium, while first-place Cincinnati is undefeated at home in 2023.
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