Columbus Crew 2 picked up right where the team left off after last Saturday's game against Chicago Fire II, opening the scoring just eight minutes into Thursday’s home game at Historic Crew Stadium and never looked back en route to a 5-0 Crew 2 victory against Inter Miami II.
Columbus came into the game with just two losses on the season, with one of those being to Miami in the team’s first-ever game. Three of the past four halves for the Black & Gold have been anything but exceptional, as they conceded a total of six goals in the time frame. The next three, however, were a completely different story.
Crew 2 forward Noah Fuson got the party started early when he put the Black & Gold up 1-0 after just eight minutes played. His shot rolled under Inter Miami II goalkeeper CJ dos Santos to put Columbus up early.
The next 25 minutes were a midfield battle with very few chances created by either side. With just over eight minutes remaining in the first half, the MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month for May Jacen Russell-Rowe doubled the host's lead with a shot that trickled past dos Santos.
After Crew 2 went up 2-0 in the first half, the game started to open up, resulting in multiple chances for both sides. These chances mounted, but nothing came of any of those opportunities before the halftime whistle.
It wouldn’t take long for the Black & Gold to get going in the second half of the match.
Just one minute into the second 45 minutes saw Columbus Academy product Aidan Wolf score his first-ever professional goal. He hit a beautiful curling effort from outside the penalty box following a corner kick that fell to the first-ever Crew 2 player.
It started to look as if Black & Gold were taking their foot off the pedal, as Inter Miami had a few minutes of sustained pressure in the Columbus defensive half. However, Crew 2 responded, getting back in control of the game.
Crew 2 had about seven minutes of sustained pressure in the Inter Miami defensive half, and had multiple chances, forcing Dos Santos into multiple good saves. But the Black & Gold attack proved to be too much.
Twenty minutes from full-time, former Columbus first-round MLS SuperDraft pick Justin Malou scored his first career goal. He headed home a corner kick powerfully, making it 4-0.
Russell-Rowe capped off the big win with a fifth goal with five minutes remaining in the game. The Crew 2 forward tucked home his second of the night, for his first career brace resulting in the victory.
The Black & Gold have now won nine of their opening 11 games in the MLS NEXT Pro season. Of those nine wins, Crew 2 has scored more than four goals in four contests. Additionally, with Thursday’s shutout, Columbus now has six clean sheets this year and goalkeeper Brady Scott has two of the shutouts.
Crew 2 will now have a bit of a break, as the team will not play again until Sunday, June 19 when the Black & Gold welcomes Orlando City B to Historic Crew Stadium for the first part of a double header with the WPSL’s Columbus Eagles. Kickoff for Crew 2 is set for 2 p.m. ET, with kickoff for the Columbus Eagles set for 5 p.m. ET.