Columbus Crew 2 wins first-ever MLS NEXT Pro Cup
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Crew 2 won the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro Cup by a score of 4-1 over St Louis CITY2 in front of their home fans at Lower.com Field. Crew 2 midfielder Marco Micaletto was named the MLS NEXT Pro Cup MVP after scoring the game-winning goal in first-half stoppage time.
Crew 2 opened the scoring in the 45th minute after earning a penalty kick, which midfielder Isaiah Parente slotted past the St Louis CITY2 goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead (Watch Here). The home side added a second goal in the third minute of first-half stoppage time when Micaletto’s dipping cross snuck under the goalkeeper to give Columbus a 2-0 advantage (Watch Here). Crew 2 made it 3-0 in the 58th minute after forward Jacen Russell-Rowe sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot for his fourth goal of the postseason (Watch Here).
St Louis CITY2 cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 80th minute, when midfielder Célio Pompeu stole the ball from the Crew 2 goalkeeper and passed it into the open goal (Watch Here). However, Crew 2 restored their three-goal lead just three minutes later as Russell-Rowe found Ryan Telfer on the counterattack, who unleashed a terrific strike into the corner of the net to complete the 4-1 victory (Watch Here).
Crew 2 finished off a historic inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season by winning the MLS NEXT Pro Cup and recording the most points of any team in the regular season (55). Columbus’ phenomenal season was led by 2022 MLS NEXT Pro MVP Russell-Rowe, and MLS NEXT Pro 2022 Best XI selections Isaiah Parente (midfielder), Mohamed Farsi (defender) and Patrick Schulte (goalkeeper). Crew 2 head coach Lauren Courtois was also named the MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year after leading the club to a 16-3-5 record with two shootout wins.
Best XI and award winners for MLS NEXT Pro.
Russell-Rowe scored 21 goals for Columbus Crew 2.
ID events will be held across four U.S. cities.
Akinmboni is a member of the U17 USMNT roster pool.
The East won the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game.
Seven MLS affiliated clubs are joining the league.