Columbus Crew 2 will be without head coach Laurent Courtois for the team’s Friday night road match against Rochester New York FC, Massive Report has learned. Courtois enter MLS NEXT Pro’s health and safety protocols and did not travel with his team to Rochester.
In his absence, Kobie Johnson will take over the head coaching duties for Friday night’s match. Johnson was hired as a Crew 2 assistant to Courtis in February.
“Columbus Crew 2 Head Coach Laurent Courtois will not be available for this evening's match at Rochester New York FC,” the Black & Gold confirmed to Massive Report. “He did not travel to Rochester on Thursday after being entered into MLS Health and Safety Protocols. In Courtois’ absence, Assistant Coach Kobie Johnson will temporarily assume coaching duties on the sideline.”
Courtois, who has led Crew 2 to the top of the MLS Next Pro standings through 12 games played, has Columbus at 10-2 so far in this inaugural season. One of the Black & Gold’s two losses came to Rochester, an uncharacteristic 4-0 thumping at Historic Crew Stadium in late May.
Under the leadership of Courtois, Crew 2 has been solid both offensively and defensively this season. The Black & Gold currently sits second in the league in goals scored with 30, only behind only the Tacoma Defiance who have amassed 35 goals scored. Defensively, Columbus only allowed 12 goals so far this year, which is tied with North Texas FC for the fewest conceded in MLS NEXT Pro.
Crew 2 also leads in assists with 25, while also having the top assister in the league, Mohamed Farsi who has six helpers. Courtois also has coached the league’s leading scorer in Jacen Russell-Rowe who has 11 finishes on the year, two ahead of Orlando City B’s Jack Lynn. Both of these Crew 2 players were recently awarded for their efforts in MLS NEXT Pro, as they were loaned up to the first team and made their MLS debuts in Columbus’ 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC last Saturday.
Courtois has also done a good job coaching forward Noah Fuson, who currently sits third in MLS NEXT Pro with seven goals scored this season, and goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, who currently sits second in the league for shutouts with five clean sheets so far this season.
Johnson, who came to Columbus in 2021, previously was a head coach at the New York Red Bulls Academy. There, Johnson coached multiple levels for over a decade. Johnson also has experience coaching in college, where he was an assistant coach for Seton Hall University, and also has experience running the New Jersey Stallions academy program.
The Black & Gold reserve team looks to get revenge on Rochester New York FC for the 4-0 defeat suffered earlier in the season when they travel to John L. Dimarco Field on Friday night for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. A reminder that all MLS NEXT Pro matches can be streamed live at mlsnexpro.com.