Columbus Crew vs LAFC live score, updates, highlights as Cucho, Yeboah take halftime lead in 2023 MLS Cup final

LAFC gun for their second straight MLS Cup title as they hit the road to face Columbus Crew in the 2023 final on Saturday.

In just their sixth season of existence, LAFC can become the first back-to-back winners of the MLS Cup since their cross-town rivals LA Galaxy did so back in 2011 and 2012. Having won last year’s crown at home as the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners, this time they’ll have to manage the feat on the road as they visit their Eastern Conference challengers.

The Columbus Crew emerged from the East after a stunning Conference Final comeback against this year’s regular season champions FC Cincinnati, down 2-0 at halftime but winning 3-2 in extra time. The Crew are aiming for their first Cup title since 2020 when they also contested the final at home, winning 3-0 over the Seattle Sounders.

The Sporting News is following the 2023 MLS Cup final between Columbus Crew and LAFC live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

MORE: Preview the 2023 MLS Cup final with picks, predictions, and best bets

2023 MLS Cup final live score

  Score (HT) Goal scorers
Columbus Crew 2 C. Hernandez (32′, pen),
Yeboah (37′)

Kickoff: 4:10 p.m. ET / 1:10 p.m. PT
Location: Field (Columbus, OH)
Referee: Armando Villarreal

Starting lineups:

Columbus Crew (3-4-3, right to left): 28. Schulte (GK) — 31. Moreira, 4. Camacho, 18. Amundsen — 23. Farsi, 6. Nagbe, 8. Morris, 14. Yeboah — 20. Matan, 9. C. Hernandez, 10. Rossi.

LAFC (4-3-3, right to left): 16. Crepeau (GK) — 24. Hollingshead, 3. Murillo, 14. Chiellini, 12. Palacios — 11. Tillman, 6. I. Sanchez, 23. Acosta — 25. Olivera, 10. Vela, 99. Bouanga.

2023 MLS Cup final live updates, highlights, commentary

HALFTIME: Columbus Crew 2-0 LAFC

There’s no other way to describe those first 45 minutes than completely, utterly dominant by the Columbus Crew. They controlled 71 percent possession, and out-passed LAFC by nearly a 3-1 margin, including 174-40 in the opposition half.

Until the final play of the half, Denis Bouanga and Carlos Vela had been totally silent, finishing the half with a combined 37 touches, one shot, and 11 completed passes. FOX analyst Stu Holden says at the end of the half that he expects Steve Cherundolo to make a host of changes after the break, and that wouldn’t be surprising, because whatever’s going on right now isn’t working.

Columbus Crew vs LAFC: First Half

45+3 min: Chance, LAFC! The visitors nearly found themselves a lifeline in the final seconds of the first half! Denis Bouanga finally gets forward on the ball after being totally nullified all half, and his cutback to the top of the six-yard box takes an enormous deflection off Rudy Camacho and skids agonizingly wide of the far post!

44th min: Goodness gracious. In a perfect encapsulation of how much the Crew have controlled every single aspect of this game, goalkeeper Patrick Schulte blasts the ball up field into the path of a racing Diego Rossi who gets so far upfield on the delivery that he needs just one touch to win a corner. Truly astonishing how the hosts have LAFC completely on their heels.

37th min: GOAL! COLUMBUS CREW! The hosts are absolutely flying as Yaw Yeboah makes it 2-0 to the Crew! The Ghana international sneaks in behind Ryan Hollingshead down the left and Malte Amundsen delivers an absolutely exquisite threaded through-ball up the gut. Yeboah latches on, clean through on goal, and cuts it past a charging Maxime Crepeau!

36th min: The rain first starts to pick up gradually, and then the skies open up. It’s an absolute downpour in Columbus right now as LAFC look for a lifeline, having been fully dominated in the opening half-hour of this match.

31st min: PENALTY, COLUMBUS! The waves and waves of pressure finally pay off, and the referee points to the spot after the ball pops up and deflects off the arm of Diego Palacios! It’s a tight call, but his arm is outstretched at a 90-degree angle, and as he comes flying in, Diego Rossi clips the ball up catching him first in the shoulder area and then off his hand.

Cucho Hernandez steps up to take the chance, and…GOAL! COLUMBUS CREW! Hernandez sends Maxime Crepeau the wrong way to open the scoring, on a fully deserved goal!

27th min: Yaw Yeboah absolutely could have won a penalty as he nutmegged Ryan Hollingshead in the penalty area and then skipped over the bamboozled defender’s leg. You never want to encourage players to simulate fouls, but in this case, he easily could have taken the contact and won a very legitimate penalty. A missed opportunity after a wonderful move.

Then Diego Rossi gets into a similar position as Cucho Hernandez did minutes ago, but this time slightly closer, just inside the top of the penalty area. He decides to shoot for the near post instead of the far, and rips it a bit wide. That was close-ish, but not quite the same flash on goal that his teammate had earlier. The fans were fooled for a moment, thinking the shot went in as it struck the side netting.

23rd min: Chance, Columbus Crew! Oh my goodness Cucho Hernandez nearly scored a stunner to send the Field fans into euphoria! He lets it rip from well outside the box and comes exceedingly close to burying the ball inside the far post. Maxime Crepeau gave it a full stretch dive but there was a small window of opportunity.

22nd min: Diego Rossi takes Columbus’s second corner of the match short, and it’s wasted immediately, rolling out for a goal kick. The Crew have completely dominated this game so far, just lacking a quality chance on net. If they make good on this pressure and find the back of the net, Field might register on the Richter scale, it feels like the home fans are just waiting to absolutely blow the top off the place.

16th min: The Columbus Crew continue to hold the majority of the meaningful possession, but still can’t trouble Maxime Crepeau’s goal. Steven Moreira’s header from deep doesn’t come close to the frame of goal.

10th min: What a block by Giorgio Chiellini! The 39-year-old launches his body feet-first towards his own end line to stop a cross from Cucho Hernandez, who had Diego Rossi streaking on goal down the middle.

8th min: In the aftermath of the game’s first corner, the Columbus Crew have poured numbers forward and are pummeling the LAFC back line with pressure. They still haven’t managed to produce a shot on Maxime Crepeau’s goal, but this is heavy early pressure.

There’s an early penalty shout as Mohamed Farsi goes launching to the turf just inside the left edge of the area but the referee isn’t interested in penalizing Jesus Murillo.

4th min: LAFC left-back Diego Palacios gets away with a transitional foul as he chops down Diego Rossi on the counter through midfield. That is usually a clear yellow card but referee Armando Villarreal decides not to show a booking this early. Palacios is lucky to get away with having to navigate nearly the entire match on a yellow.

3rd min: The LAFC away fans were noticeably quiet for the first two minutes of the game, presumably in protest to their recent sanctions from Major League Soccer. They cannon into full voice as it hits the two-minute mark.

On the other end, the Columbus Crew had a pre-match tifo that took clear aim at their MLS Cup final opponents, who only joined the league in 2018.

Kickoff: They’re under way at Field in Columbus! 90 minutes (or 120 maybe?) to decide the 2023 Major League Soccer champion!

It’s misting in Ohio at kickoff, with some light precipitation making the conditions quite cold and slick.

Columbus Crew vs LAFC: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

5 minutes to kickoff: One more interesting storyline for this match: this could potentially be the final match of Giorgio Chiellini’s illustrious career. He was asked about it in pregame by FOX reporter Jenny Taft, but deflected the question saying “the future is now.” Will he retire at the end of it all? We’ll have to wait to find out!

15 mins to kickoff: Columbus Crew fans have given their team bus the requisite serenade fitting of an MLS finalist! The match is soon to kick off, with the official start time listed as 4:10 p.m. ET.

30 mins to kickoff: Finally we have lineup news. Columbus Crew have named an unchanged XI as head coach Wilfried Nancy decides to leave Mohamed Farsi in at right wing-back, selected over the in-form Julian Gressel.

For LAFC, it’s also an unchanged starting lineup from Steve Cherundolo from their win over the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference finals. Two largely healthy teams with strong consistency from a lineup perspective.

45 mins to kickoff: While LAFC prepare to play for a league title, they may have just been upstaged in the Los Angeles sports news cycle as Shohei Ohtani announces he has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for an eye-watering $700 million over 10 years. Sorry, LA soccer fans! This one might push LAFC a bit further back in the market regardless of how today plays out.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly hands out the largest guaranteed contract in the history of major North American professional sports.

1 hour to kickoff: Lineups are expected imminently, we’ll bring you them as soon as they are released. With an hour to go, LAFC supporters are doing well to make their presence known as their team contests the 2023 final on the road.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: Another fascinating storyline today is the return of Diego Rossi against his former club LAFC. Rossi joined the west-coast side in January of 2018 from Uruguayan club Penarol and played four seasons with LAFC, scoring 50 goals and assisting 19 more in 106 league games for them before leaving midseason to join Turkish club Fenerbahce.

It didn’t quite work out for Rossi overseas, but he has been instrumental in the Crew’s second-half push to the final, joining in late August and bagging 11 goal contributions in 15 matches, including three goals and three assists in the playoffs. Today he has a chance to redeem his departure from his old club, who will be equally motivated to ensure he regrets ever leaving Los Angeles.

1 hour 30 mins to kick: One of this match’s best stories is LAFC goalkeeper Makime Crepeau, who returns to the MLS Cup final one year removed from his awful leg fracture in this very match. Crepeau went down in last year’s final against the Philadelphia Union deep in stoppage time, forcing John McCarthy onto the field in a pressure situation.

Crepeau returned in August, and has retaken the starting spot from McCarthy. This will be a big, emotional moment for the Canadian international.

1 hour 45 mins to kick: The two fanbases have engaged in a chant-off in downtown Columbus before the match, as they passed each other on Nationwide Blvd! Glad things remained civil, but this appears to be a tense atmosphere nonetheless!

2 hours to kickoff: Today’s epic match is here! Many are hoping for an electric final much like last year’s, which saw LAFC triumph in a six-goal thriller. Yet some will be afraid that the match could get cagey as many finals often do.

You can get a full preview of today’s game by clicking here, with picks, predictions, and tips!

Columbus Crew vs LAFC lineups, team news

The only injury concern for Columbus head coach Wilfried Nancy is the ACL tear suffered by Will Sands back in April. Otherwise, the Crew squad is entirely fit for duty.

Julian Gressel could have come into the starting lineup at right wing-back, but Nancy decides to stick with Mohamed Farsi in a lineup that looks just as it did in the dramatic Eastern Conference Final win over FC Cincinnati. Diego Rossi takes on his former club LAFC, who he left two years ago for a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce. He has five goals and six assists since returning to MLS this summer.

Columbus Crew starting lineup (3-4-3): Schulte (GK) — Moreira, Camacho, Amundsen — Gressel, Nagbe, Morris, Yeboah — Matan, C. Hernandez, Rossi.

Columbus Crew subs (9): Bush (GK), Zawadzki, Arfsten, Medranda, Cheberko, Gressel, Molino, Russell-Rowe, C. Ramirez.

LAFC, amazingly, are at essentially full health for the MLS Cup final, which is quite a luxury to have on the road.

Maxime Crepeau has reestablished himself as the first-choice goalkeeper since returning from his serious leg fracture, supplanting John McCarthy back in mid-September. Crepeau has kept three clean sheets in the playoffs, on a stretch of seven straight halves of play without conceding a goal.

LAFC starting lineup (4-3-3): Crepeau (GK) — Hollingshead, Murillo, Chiellini, Palacios — Tillman, I. Sanchez, Acosta — Olivera, Vela, Bouanga.

LAFC subs (9): McCarthy (GK), Palencia, Maldonado, Long, Krastev, Biuk, Ordaz, Bogusz, M. Gonzalez.

How to watch 2023 MLS Cup final

The 2023 MLS Cup final will be shown in the United States on the FOX main network channel, while a Spanish-language broadcast is available on Fox Deportes. Both channels are available to stream on Fubo

In Canada, the match will be shown on both TSN3 and TSN4, which can be streamed on Fubo Canada. A broadcast in French is also available on RDS 2.

2023 MLS Cup final betting odds, lines

win (90 mins)
Draw LAFC win
(90 mins)
Both teams
to score Y / N
Over / Under
2.5 goals
COL win
the Cup
LAFC win
the Cup
+115 +230 +220 -155 / +125 -125 / -110 -155 +125

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