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May 14, 2024 5:50 pm

Crew try to shore up details, face CF Montreal

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The Columbus Crew and host CF Montreal each try to break their winless streaks when they play Wednesday.

But based on their most recent encounter — 0-0 in Columbus on April 27 — neither may attain their objective.

For the defending MLS Cup champion Crew (3-2-6, 15 points), their success in the CONCACAF Champions Cup hasn’t translated to league play where they are 0-5-2 in the past seven matches since March 16.

After a 2-1 loss to rival FC Cincinnati last Saturday to end the Crew’s 27-match home unbeaten streak in all competitions, Crew coach Wilfried Nancy wants to see how his players respond.

“It’s all about the evolution of our game,” Nancy said. “It’s all about details. It’s not about how we play, it’s about details.”

Max Arfsten scored his first goal of the season against Cincinnati to help the Crew avoid a shutout.

CF Montreal (3-5-3, 12 points) are winless in four matches (two ties, two losses). They suffered a 3-2 home setback to Inter Miami last Saturday after holding a 2-0 advantage, even though they kept Lionel Messi off the scoresheet.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold on to our lead but it shows we have quality and can do things with the ball,” Montreal midfielder Bryce Duke said. “We need to keep going in this direction and get results.

“It will be important to recover and be ready for Wednesday.”

The Crew begin a daunting stretch. A win at Mexican powerhouse CF Monterrey on May 1 advanced them to the final of the Champions Cup on June 1 in Mexico vs. CF Pachuca.

Due to scheduling conflicts with the final, the Crew moved home matches on May 29 and June 1 to later in the season, meaning their next five MLS matches are on the road. They have an 0-1-3 away record.

It will be a stern test, literally. Opponents are getting more physical and the Crew have not always kept their composure.

“We’ve gotten used to it because it got started last year at the end of the year,” Nancy said. “We obviously saw it drastically change.

“You have to play with emotion but if you are too focused on that, your performance is going to be affected. So, we try to find the balance.”

–Field Level Media

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