Crew Coverage

Crew Coverage pres. by Medical Mutual | Nancy: ‘My players gave everything’ in Concacaf Champions Cup Final

When the full-time whistle sounded on Saturday night, there were no triumphant roars and celebrations from the Columbus Crew players and coaching staff. The impressive display of Black & Gold supporters was also muted inside Estadio Hidalgo.

The end result had been known for some time. Everyone knew the wait for a continental title would linger for at least one more year.

But still, the reigning MLS Cup champions had played hard and played with pride. While Columbus lost the Concacaf Champions Cup Final, 3-0, to Liga MX side CF Pachuca, the journey getting there was magical – and massive – and gave us the belief that impossible is only an opinion.

“My players gave everything, knowing that they were sick,” head coach Wilfried Nancy said after the game. “Don't get me wrong, this is a fact. I'm not [saying] that Pachuca don’t deserve to win and they scored three goals, but they gave everything, and it was not easy for them.”

After an electric start to the match that nearly saw the visitors score within the opening minute, Salomón Rondón score his first of two goals inside 12 minutes. Emilio Rodríguez scored the second in the 32nd minute before Rondón sealed his brace in the second half.

“It was 3-0, it is 3-0,” Nancy said. “I rewatched a bit the opportunities that we had. We had many opportunities to score a goal. We were not clean, I would say, when we attacked the box. We had possibilities.

“When we started the game, we had a few opportunities that we could have done better. After that, they did well what they used to do. In terms of the goal that we conceded, could have been avoided, I would say, because it was through the middle, knowing that we had superior [numbers] in this position. I think that with the goal that we conceded, we could have done better – we know that – but we had also many opportunities that we didn’t do.

“Bravo for Pachuca. They deserved to win. I will not talk about if they deserved to win or not – they won so well done for them.”

And well done for the Crew players on reaching the final and playing through serious adversities. What started with a Round of 16 matchup with Houston Dynamo FC led to multiple “firsts” as Columbus left Tigres UANL and CF Monterrey in their wake.

The path through to the Concacaf Champions Cup final included unforgettable nights in Mexico that will remain in supporters’ hearts for years to come.

But the full-time whistle on Saturday night also ushered in something else: the Black & Gold can now put their singular focus into winning MLS Cup again.

Since the season started, the player and coaching staff have worked through a congested schedule as Columbus bounced between MLS regular season games and Concacaf Champions Cup fixtures. However, now, likely won’t be as much squad rotation and rest management. Instead, the Crew have 20 regular-season matches left – and a Leagues Cup to go out and win.

“We have to rest their brain a bit,” Nancy said after the game. “Like I told them, ‘We win or we learn.’ I think that we're going to learn a lot about this game, knowing that I'm really proud of my players, I'm really proud about what they did and I'm really proud since the beginning of the competition about what they did.

“We missed the last step, I would say, but we tried to do also what we wanted to do, but it was not enough for [on Saturday night].”

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