The Columbus Crew cruised through to the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Real Esteli FC on Thursday to complete an emphatic 5-0 win on aggregate.
Bradley Wright-Phillips added a late goal in his first-ever start in Black and Gold to secure a win at Historic Crew Stadium.
At the 86th minute, Lucas Zelarayan sent a through ball through the middle of the field for the veteran striker. Once inside the box, BWP calmly put the ball in towards the far post to warm himself up ahead of the 2021 MLS regular season.
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The Crew, who were heading into the game with eight changes from the first leg, lost a player only eight minutes when Aidan Morris was forced to substitute off for Grant Lillard after his left knee awkwardly twisted in the pitch. The early sub forced Perry Kitchen, who was making his debut for the Crew, to move from center back to central midfield.
After a slow first half, the Crew’s advantage was signed, sealed and delivered. In addition to BWP’s late goal, the hosts successfully defended every Esteli attack en route to Eloy Room’s second straight clean sheet of 2021.
Having successfully rested their starters, the Crew will look forward to taking on fellow Concacaf Champions League quarterfinalists Philadelphia Union on Sunday in the MLS Home Opener.
- 86' - CLB - Bradley Wright Phillips | WATCH
*This editorial was provided by MLSsoccer.com and edited by ColumbusCrewSC.com
Tonight’s starting players featured five players under the age of 25. The young starters include midfielder Aidan Morris (19), midfielder Isaiah Parente (21), defender Aboubacar Keita (21), forward Miguel Berry (23) and midfielder Luis Diaz (22). Of these five players, three are Crew SC Academy products: Keita, Morris and Parente.
With tonight’s result, Crew SC advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. Up next, the Black & Gold will host the Philadelphia Union at Historic Crew Stadium on Sunday, April 18.
Midfielder Isaiah Parente made his first start for Crew SC in tonight’s match, having made his debut in last week’s First Leg match against Real Esteli FC (April 8). Prior to signing with the Crew, the Crew SC Academy product played for Wake Forest University for three seasons, making 31 starts while tallying three goals and 19 assists.
Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips made his first start for Crew SC in tonight’s match. The forward capped the occasion by scorinG, as he netted the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the contest. With the goal, Wright-Phillips brough his total to five goals in 16 Concacaf Champions League appearances.
Lucas Zelarayan registered his second assist in as many Concacaf Champions League matches for Crew SC. The midfielder provided the game-winning assist, setting up Bradley Wright-Phillips goal. Notably, Zelarayan has provided three assists in his last three matches, as he provided an assist during MLS Cup 2020 (December 12) and in last week’s match against Real Esteli (April 8).