By Mariana Smithfield
Columbus Crew Advance to Host MLS Cup presented by Audi on Saturday, Dec 9
NEW YORK (Saturday, December 2, 2023) – The Columbus Crew advanced to their fourth MLS Cup presented by Audi in club history and will host the league’s championship match for the third time in nine years after defeating in-state rival FC Cincinnati, 3-2, in extra time in the Eastern Conference Final. The Crew went 12-1-4 in their home stadium during the 2023 regular season and will now host Major League Soccer’s championship match at Lower.com Field for the first time in the stadium’s history on Saturday, December 9 (4 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass/FOX/ FOX Deportes/TSN/ RDS).
Columbus overcame a 2-0 first-half deficit with a pair of goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation to force extra time in the first-ever postseason edition of the ‘Hell is Real’ rivalry. In the 75th minute, a cross off the foot of defender Julian Gressel ricocheted off of an FC Cincinnati defender and into the back of the net to cut the Crew’s deficit to one goal (Watch Here ). Eleven minutes later, midseason Designated Player acquisition Diego Rossi leveled the score at 2-2 after a deflection from a Cincinnati defender found his right foot and was swiftly shot past keep goalkeeper (Watch Here).
In the 114th minute, Columbus delivered the deciding blow, as a sensational cross from Kevin Molino was headed by Juan ‘Cucho’ Hernández to a wide open Christian Ramírez, who scored the game-clinching goal (Watch Here) and punched the Crew’s ticket to MLS Cup 2023 presented by Audi.
The Crew plays the winner of the Western Conference Final, the reigning MLS Cup champions Los Angeles Football Club.
COURTESY MLS COMMUNICATIONS