Stoppage-time winner! Columbus steal Champions Cup result in Houston


A chess match between Wilfried Nancy and Ben Olsen came down to the final move.

Houston Dynamo FC and the Columbus Crew were heading for a stalemate in Leg 1 of their Concacaf Champions Cup Round-of-16 showdown, but the persistence of the reigning MLS Cup champs prevailed, with a stoppage-time goal delivering the 1-0 win Wednesday at Shell Energy Stadium.

Houston were hanging on in the second half and trying to see out the result, but the Crew continued pressing and eventually snuck one past Steve Clark in the 96th minute. The winner came after Alexandru Matan wriggled into the box and sent a ball across the goalmouth that deflected off the Dynamo's Coco Carrasquilla and into the net.

Columbus had their chances early and often as Diego Rossi forced a massive save on a ball heading for goal in the 16th minute. Soon after, Jacen Russell-Rowe blasted a shot off the post.

But the Crew's best chance may have come in the 37th minute, when Clark ventured way off his line to challenge a play and whiffed. Marino Hinestroza was left with a wide-open net, but failed to hit the target.

The Dynamo had opportunities of their own, as Carrasquilla created danger on multiple occasions, specifically in the 42nd minute, when he set up Griffin Dorsey for a perfect 1-v-1 against Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, who blocked the shot.

Adding to the drama was a pair of disallowed goals: one from Houston's Ethan Bartlow and the other from Columbus' Christian Ramírez. Both were deemed offside after Video Review.

Leg 2 will be played on March 12 at Field in Columbus, Ohio.


  • 90+6' - CLB - Alexandru Matan | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Houston thought they were in the clear, having not allowed an away goal. Now they have to travel to Columbus with a deficit. At least it’s only one, but the Crew will feel like they’re in a great spot heading home against a team that isn’t at full strength due to injury. If they can take advantage of one of their early chances next time, they’ll be a lot more comfortable and not have to sweat it out until deep into stoppage time.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Matan to the rescue! While everyone was lining up to defend Aidan Morris’ free kick at the death, the cerebral midfielder saw Matan all alone and sent a simple pass his way. Sometimes you need a little luck, and that slight deflection on what Matan may have intended as a cross ended up being the winner.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Cucho Hernández subbing on at halftime may have been the difference that tipped the scale. His energy and ability to create in tight spaces gave the Crew the hunger to keep trying, which ultimately paid off.

Next Up

  • HOU: Tuesday, March 12 at Columbus Crew | 6 pm ET | Concacaf Champions Cup
  • CLB: Saturday, March 9 vs. Chicago Fire FC | 7:30 pm ET (MLS Season Pass)