Nov 1, 2023 - Sports

Columbus Crew begins road to another title

Cucho Hernandez kicks his leg in the air after scoring a goal.

Cucho Hernández and the rest of the Columbus Crew kicked their way into the MLS postseason. Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Crew's last playoff appearance, in 2020, ended with the raising of a championship trophy.

  • The road to another title begins tonight.

Why it matters: The team, a symbol of our city's perseverance and development, is back on the national stage.

State of play: It's been a whirlwind few years for Columbus' most decorated professional team.

  • The Crew was saved by a fan movement in 2018, won the championship in 2020 and debuted its Arena District stadium in 2021.
  • After the team missed the playoffs for two seasons, new head coach Wilfried Nancy is tasked with brining an era of good feelings to Lower.com Field.

By the numbers: Columbus finished the regular season with 16 wins, 9 draws and 9 losses, the third-best record among the 29 MLS teams.

  • Prolific scorer Cucho Hernández helped the Crew tally more goals than any other team, helping make up for a defense that is middle-of-the-pack in goals allowed.

Zoom in: This success earned us home-field advantage for the first playoff round, a best-of-three series against Atlanta United FC.

  • After tonight, the series shifts to the Big Peach next Tuesday.
  • If necessary, Columbus hosts a deciding third match on Nov. 12.

How to watch: There are still some resale tickets, starting at $27.

  • Otherwise, you can follow the action on Apple TV/FS1 or listen on FM radio stations 97.1 The Fan/La Mega 103.1.

Between the lines: Columbus is the overwhelming favorite, having only lost one out of 17 home matches all season.

  • The Crew previously defeated Atlanta 6-1 at home in March, then played to a 1-1 tie on the road last month.

What's next: If the Crew advances, two rounds of win-or-go-home matches follow before the MLS Cup on Dec. 9.

Of note: Alissa will be cheering on the Crew tonight in the Nordecke!

  • 🥶 Say hi, if you can find her under the layers of coats, blankets and yellow smoke bombs.
Columbus Crew fans celebrate a goal with flags and cheers.
Time for the Nordecke to get loud! Photo: Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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