The long wait is over for Columbus Crew fans. The farewell stretch of matches at historic Crew Stadium begins Thursday when the Black & Gold host Real Esteli in the second leg of the Round of 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League. Last Thursday, the Crew comfortably won the first leg 4-0 on the road and are in position to advance to its third Champion League quarterfinals.
Columbus enters the match with a significant aggregate and away goal advantage and would need a colossal collapse to get knocked out of the Champions League. Head coach Caleb Porter is likely to rotate the squad quite a bit with the big aggregate lead, multiple injuries and with Sunday’s upcoming MLS opener against the Philadelphia Union on the horizon.
Real Esteli suffered the worst defeat of the first set of Champions League games last week and need the comeback of all comebacks to get to the quarterfinals. For the Nicaraguan team to advance, they need to score at least four goals for a chance at a penalty shootout and five for a shot at advancing. If the Crew continues to find the net like the team did last week, the Black & Gold will be even likelier to advance.
The winner of this Round of 16 tie will face either Mexican powerhouse C.F. Monterrey or Dominican Republic club Club Atletico Pantoja. Monterrey won the first leg on the road 3-0 last Thursday and also seem likely to progress to the last eight. The Champions League quarterfinals will begin on April 27.
How to watch:
Date: Thursday, April 15, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Venue: Historic Crew Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: English: 97.1 The Fan - Spanish: Columbus Crew YouTube
Streaming: FOX Sports App
CONCACAF Champions League Records:
Columbus Crew (3rd appearance)
Real Esteli (7th appearance)
2008-09: Preliminary Round
2011-12: Preliminary Round
2012-13: Group Stage
2013-14: Group Stage
2014-15: Group Stage
2016-17: Group Stage
CCL Schedule and Results:
Atlanta United 1, Alajuelense 0: (Atlanta wins 2-0 on aggregate)
Portland Timbers 5, Marathon 0: (Portland wins 7-2 on aggregate)
Cruz Azul 8, Arcahaie 0: (Cruz Azul wins 8-0 on aggregate)
Toronto FC 2, Club Leon 1: (Toronto wins 3-2 on aggregate)
Club America 0, CD Olimpia 1: (Club America wins 2-2 on away goals)
Philadelphia Union 4, Saprissa 0: (Union wins 5-0 on aggregate)
Monterrey vs. Atletico Pantoja: April 15, 10:00 p.m. (Monterrey leads 3-0)