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CONCACAF Champions League | Semi-Finals | 1st Leg
Apr 25, 2024 at 1.15am UK Field

Columbus Crew
2 - 1

FT(HT: 1-0)
Meza (58')
Meza (66'), Moreno (90+1')

Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Monterrey - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Monterrey - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's CONCACAF Champions Cup clash between Columbus Crew and Monterrey, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Making their first-ever appearance in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC), the Columbus Crew will host Monterrey in the opening leg of that tie on Wednesday at Field.

In the quarter-finals, Columbus held their nerve against Mexican giants Tigres, advancing from that tie 4-3 on penalties after both encounters ended in a 1-1 draw, while Rayados defeated Inter Miami in the previous round, 5-2 on aggregate.

Match preview

Coming into the 2024 campaign fresh off capturing the MLS Cup, Wilfried Nancy knew that expectations would be high, but thus far, his players have met those expectations quite well.

The Crew have been able to do what few MLS sides have done in past seasons, successfully navigate through the Champions Cup and the domestic campaigns at the same time, currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, while they are undefeated in four CCC matches played this year.

While Nancy employs an attractive attacking brand of football that relies on baiting opponents out of position with their short passing, his side have been much sounder defensively than we are accustomed to seeing, conceding a goal or fewer in each of their Champions Cup encounters this season.

Columbus have been relatively resilient as well, conceding the opening goal in both encounters versus Tigres and eliminating a Mexican side from this competition for the first time in their history.

That said, they have never beaten a Mexican opponent over 90 minutes since defeating Santos Laguna 1-0 at the old Historic Crew Stadium during the group stage of this tournament in 2010.

On Saturday, the Crew erased a pair of one-goal deficits to earn a 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers, remaining unbeaten at Field in all competitions this season, while they have not lost a competitive home game in normal time since April 29, 2023, when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Inter Miami in MLS play.

A dramatic come-from-behind victory in the opening leg of their quarter-final tie shifted the momentum to Monterrey, who handled one of the tournament favourites, Inter Miami, with ease in that return leg, winning 3-1.

Their opening leg victory against Miami was the only time this team had ever found themselves behind in a Champions Cup encounter this year, while they are unbeaten in 2024 when scoring the opening goal.

As a result, Fernando Ortiz has them back in the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time since 2021, with the Mexicans advancing in all five of their previous appearances at this stage, en route to lifting the trophy each time.

With six wins from six CCC clashes this year, La Pandilla are the only side remaining in this competition with a 100% record, outscoring their opponents by a combined margin 15-4.

Monterrey enter this encounter in a minor slump away from home, though, losing their last two competitive games as the visitors, both in Liga MX, including a 2-0 defeat over the weekend against the CCC winners from last season, Club Leon.

They have never lost to an MLS side in this competition, eliminating FC Cincinnati and Miami in the round of 16 and quarter-finals, respectively this season, while they are undefeated in their two previous matches with the Crew at this tournament, knocking them out in the 2021 quarter-finals, 5-2 on aggregate.

Columbus Crew CONCACAF Champions Cup form:

Columbus Crew form (all competitions):

Monterrey CONCACAF Champions Cup form:

Monterrey form (all competitions):

Team News

On Saturday, the Crew were once again without Christian Ramirez because of a thigh injury, while backup goalkeeper Evan Bush remains sidelined after hurting his wrist.

Aidan Morris is eligible to return for this encounter, having missed the decisive second leg victory versus Tigres through suspension, while the club traded Philip Quinton on Friday to Real Salt Lake in exchange for General Allocation Money (GAM).

Diego Rossi scored the equalising goal in both of their CCC quarter-final fixtures, while Patrick Schulte was the hero in the shootout, stopping Andre-Pierre Gignac and Guido Pizarro from the spot, with Cucho Hernandez the only one to miss from 12 yards out for Columbus.

Jesus Manuel Corona may be a game-time decision for Monterrey due to a minor knock, while Luis Romo is doubtful because of an unknown injury.

From the opening leg to their return engagement versus Inter Miami, La Pandilla made two changes to their starting 11, bringing Stefan Medina and German Berterame into the fold in place of captain Hector Moreno and Jorge Rodriguez.

Brandon Vazquez got Monterrey started in their previous CCC clash, scoring his fourth of the competition before Berterame and Jesus Gallardo notched insurance markers.

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Schulte; Moreira, Camacho, Amundsen; Farsi, Nagbe, Morris, Sands; Rossi, Matan; Hernandez

Monterrey possible starting lineup:
Andrada; Aguirre, Moreno, Guzman, Arteaga; Meza, Canales, Romo, Gallardo; Berterame, Vazquez

We say: Columbus Crew 1-1 Monterrey

Experience will favour the visitors, but we expect the Crew to come out aggressively at home and find a way to earn a result, given their strong form at Field and their ability to react well when suffering a setback throughout this competition.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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1Inter MiamiInter Miami17104339241534
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati1610332316733
3New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls157532822626
4New York City FCNY City158251916326
5Columbus Crew146622113824
7Charlotte FCCharlotte FC166461516-122
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia154742521419
9Nashville SCNashville154741920-119
10DC United164662329-618
11Orlando City154561623-717
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta154472018216
13CF MontrealMontreal154472133-1216
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Western Conference

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2Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy167723023728
3Los Angeles FCLos Angeles158342719827
4Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd147432419525
5Austin FCAustin166552020023
6Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver156452218422
7Colorado RapidsColorado166462829-122
8Houston DynamoHouston156361616021
9Portland TimbersPortland165473030019
10Seattle SoundersSeattle164661919018
11St Louis City143742022-216
13Sporting Kansas CityKansas152582328-511
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