Crew Coverage

Crew Coverage pres. by Medical Mutual | Nancy: ‘Pleased’ with Crew’s win over Nashville 

Saturday night felt like a vintage Columbus Crew win – one where the club impressively outplayed the opponent, delivered a high-quality performance and left supporters feeling like maybe this is the start of something special. 

The Black & Gold hosted the second-place Nashville SC and won, 2-0, at Field, closing June on a high note as the attack produced another lethal display that pleased head coach Wilfried Nancy. 

“I really like the competitive spirit that we had,” Nancy said after the win. “We did it in the last game also, but also, I really like the fact that we were able to score a second goal in the 95th minute. For me, this is the learning process. And we like also the fact that we were able to keep the ball a little better, to keep the time when it was the moment because we struggled last week with that.”

The home side only needed 20 minutes before taking the lead when Columbus scored from a blistering counter attack. 

After goalkeeper Patrick Schulte tossed the ball toward the midfield line, field position flipped. Initially, Nashville thought they could regroup, but Lucas Zelarayán stole the ball and suddenly the Crew attacking front line came barreling down the pitch toward the Nashville net. In the end, Christian Ramirez produced the breakthrough.

“I was really pleased also with the first goal because we try to give them the awareness to recognize when this is the moment to play quick or slow down,” Nancy said. “The first goal was a really good moment to speed up the play and they did it well. And the spirit, the spirit for me has been really good. The first half was really a good first half, the way we started the game. Again, I'm not surprised because this is the way we want to start. But we could have scored more goals. 

“This is Nashville, the way they defend, we know that. The second half yes, we struggled a bit, in terms of they had a little bit more of the ball and we were in between our defensive shape, but after that, the players found the moments to get back on the ball and to do a really good game, so I am happy for them because again, it was not easy last week and we know that Nashville is a good team, so really pleased for them.”

As for Ramirez, he’s up to seven goals this season, including four in his last four matches. 

“That is Christian,” Nancy said. “I was teasing him a bit today during the pregame video. I was saying, ‘Christian, you're not the fastest guy but you are clever and you are really smart to understand the game and understand the nuance of the game.’ So today he showed that. He showed that yes, offensively, but also defensively in terms of trying to get the connection with the front line to be able to sort out a good solution to defend. And today, it was a good task for us also because we had two good tasks.”

While the Crew wanted to impose its offensive creativity on Nashville, equally important was keeping reigning MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar quiet. Mukhtar, who entered the match with 13 goals and seven assists from 19 games, was only able to produce a single shot on target at Field. 

On the other side of the pitch, Columbus doubled the lead in the 95th minute when Max Arfsten’s cross was deflected off Jack Maher into his own net.

And with that, the Crew went unbeaten in the month of June and sits fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with 35 points from 19 games. 

“What I really enjoyed was the spirit,” Nancy said. “And for me, I think this is one of our best games in terms of competitive spirit from forward to goalkeeper and also from subs, all the team.”

Up next is a meeting with the New York Red Bulls at Field on July 1. Act fast to secure your seat for the game. Three days later, the Black & Gold are at Inter Miami CF.

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