CONCACAF Champions Cup
Concacaf Champions Cup: Columbus Crew makes history, but Revs' humiliation mustn't be ignored
CONCACAF Champions Cup

Concacaf Champions Cup: Columbus Crew makes history, but Revs' humiliation mustn't be ignored

Published Apr. 10, 2024 1:14 a.m. ET

The Columbus Crew came back to beat Liga MX power Tigres on Tuesday south of the border, advancing to the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals and becoming both the first MLS team to win a penalty shootout against Mexican opposition. The Crew and Tigers played to a 1-1 tie last week in Ohio's capital.

It wasn't all good news for MLS on Tuesday, however. As the MLS Cup champs were celebrating their victory in Monterrey, the New England Revolution — which lost its opening match 4-0 to Mexico's Club América last week in Foxborough, Massachusetts — were further humiliated 5-2 in the second leg in Mexico City.

Here are three quick thoughts on Tuesday's doubleheader.

Columbus Crew makes history in Mexico

When 23-year-old Columbus goalkeeper Patrick Schulte's mistake gifted Tigres legend André-Pierre Gignac an early goal to put the hosts ahead before three full minutes had been played at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, the Crew's odds of advancing seemed steep.


But Diego Rossi delivered a crucial away goal to equal the aggregate scoreline at 2-2 just shy of the hour mark, and it stayed that way though 30 minutes of extra time until the tiebreaker.

Schulte, who became the youngest keeper to win MLS Cup last December, stopped the hosts' first two spot kicks (including Gignac's) — an advantage that ultimately proved too great for the hosts to overcome. Maximilian Arfsten buried the winner for the Crew, which also became the first MLS team to advance in the competition in Mexico after failing to win the first leg at home.

Revs' humiliation can't be ignored

The 9-2 aggregate defeat, which came on the same day MLS owners met to discuss loosening the financial restrictions that have limited MLS to one solitary Concacaf title over the last 20 years plus, is a reminder to all involved that until MLS allows its clubs to face international opponents on even terms, the league will need to rely on near-miracles like the one that happened 500 miles to north of Estadio Azteca on Tuesday.

There are encouraging signs that that could happen. FIFA president Gianni Infantino visited the MLS Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, and many of MLS's underwriters understand that allowing the league's billionaire backers to supercharge their investment in the on-field product ahead of the 2025 Club World Cup and, crucially, the 48-team, North America-hosted World Cup a year later has to happen to best leverage that unique opportunity. Hopefully, that will soon make embarrassing results like the one the Revs suffered this month a thing of the past.

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami got next

The Crew did Inter Miami a huge favor by advancing to the final four. Had Columbus gone out, the Herons — which debuted as an expansion team in 2020 — would've had the sole responsibility of preventing an MLS-less semis for the first time since 2016.

The pressure is now mostly off Miami and Lionel Messi, who is expected to start in Monterrey against Los Rayados on Wednesday (coverage begins at 10:20 pm ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app) after missing last week's 2-1 loss in Ft Lauderdale with a hamstring injury. Now Messi can focus solely on punishing Monterrey coach (and fellow Argentine) Fernando Ortiz for derogatory comments Ortiz made ahead of the first leg, rather than have to defend the honor of an entire domestic league.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United Statesmen's and women's national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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