Houston Dynamo FC host the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew


Photo credit: Oscar Herrera, SFL Staff Photographer

HOUSTON (March 6, 2024) – Houston Dynamo FC host the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew later today in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Shell Energy Stadium, and tickets for the match are available HERE.

The Dynamo earned a place the Round of 16 after advancing on a 2-2 aggregate score versus St. Louis CITY SC, with Houston’s leg-one away goal serving as the tiebreaker. Houston fell 2-1 on the road in the first leg but stayed within reach thanks to midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk’s 72nd-minute goal, his first for the club. The Dynamo secured their spot in the next round by defeating CITY 1-0 at home in the second leg, which was sealed by defender Erik Sviatchenko’s inaugural goal in the 60th minute.


The Crew will open Champions Cup play this evening after receiving a bye to the Round of 16 thanks to hoisting the MLS Cup in 2023. Columbus took down LAFC 2-1 at home in December thanks to two first half goals from Chucho Hernandez (33rd minute) and Yaw Yeboah (37’). Last year marked the Crew’s third MLS title.


Today’s match will bring the end to a four-match homestand that has seen a win, loss and draw for the Dynamo. Houston enters with a 7-1-7 (WLD) record at home against Columbus. The two teams last met at Shell Energy Stadium during the regular season last year, resulting in a 2-0 Houston victory on August 30.


Two of Houston’s key players have long-term connections with the Columbus Crew. Wednesday will be the second time midfielder Artur faces his former team after the Brazilian joined the Dynamo in the fall of 2022 following a trade with the Crew. Artur played in Columbus for six seasons, winning the MLS Cup in 2020 and the Campeones Cup in 2021. Goalkeeper Steve Clark also spent three seasons with the Crew from 2014-2016 and led the team to the 2015 MLS Cup Final. Additionally, Houston’s general manager Pat Onstad spent time as an assistant coach (2014-18) and technical director (2019-21) in Columbus, while Dynamo technical director Asher Mendelsohn also spent five years with the Crew as director of soccer operations (2013-18).


Houston enters Wednesday’s matchup after falling 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls at home in league play. The result snapped a home unbeaten streak in MLS play that stretched back to July 2023, a string of nine matches under head coach Ben Olsen. The Dynamo struck first in the seventh minute after midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla switched play and found forward Aliyu Ibrahim at the edge of the box, who finished at the far post for his first goal of the year. The 22-year-old has now scored one goal and tallied two assists in the last three matches.


In MLS play last weekend, Columbus gave up a goal deep into injury time on the road to Minnesota United FC as the Loons forced a 1-1 draw to salvage a point. After a scoreless first half, Cucho Hernández put the Crew ahead in the 59th minute when he finished a low shot from outside the box. Columbus looked set to earn three points until they could not produce a late clearance, allowing Tani Oluwaseyi to find the equalizer for the home side in the 95th minute.


Columbus will host the decisive second leg on Tuesday, March 12, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m. CT. The aggregate score over the two legs will determine the team that advances to the Quarterfinals, and the greater number of away goals scored serves as the first tiebreaker. If still tied, two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played, followed by a penalty shootout if tied after extra time.


This is the eighth edition of the tournament to feature the Dynamo, and Houston return to the regional competition for the first time since the 2019 edition, earning a place this year after winning the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This is the just the second time the Dynamo will face an MLS opponent in the tournament, after facing St. Louis in Round One.



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