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  • Writer's pictureTopher Enneking

Columbus Crew takes MLS Cup: What we learned

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Columbus Crew takes the MLS Cup and celebrates the wn.
Columbus Crew celebrates their MLS Cup win. Photo courtesy Columbus Crew.

Nathan's picks

*Most Shots Wins 14-11

*Most Corners Wins 9-1

xMost Duels Won Wins 46-54

xMost Tackles Wins 17-22

xMost Offsides Wins 0-3

Topher's picks

-Most Shots on Goal Wins 5-5

*Home Team Wins 1-0

*Least Yellow Cards Wins 3-4

*Most Blocked Shots Wins 3-2

xMost Clearances Wins 13-16

Nathan’s MLS Cup Final analysis

This week’s STATSDraft spotlight game was the MLS Cup Final between the Columbus Crew and Los Angeles FC. The game ended 2-1 as the Crew won their third MLS Cup in franchise history. I only hit on two of my five picks while Topher hit on 3.5 of his five selections.

I predicted that Columbus would win, but I knew LAFC could pull out a rare away win in the MLS championship. Columbus came out and asserted their dominance right from the start and earned a penalty kick that was successfully converted by Cucho Hernandez after 33 minutes. Four minutes later Columbus doubled their advantage when they capitalized on LAFC ball-watching in their defensive third. I noticed that LAFC star attacker Carlos Vela had more defensive interjections than offensive for the first 50 minutes, which did not bode well for LAFC. He finally helped LAFC get a grip later in the second half. LAFC scored to pull within a goal in the 75th minute but were unable to find the equalizer.

Columbus drew fouls when they needed to and LAFC proved to be the more physical team as they chased the game, winning more duels and tackles in addition to getting more yellow cards and clearances. After another STATSDraft spotlight game loss, I will humbly take a consolation win in the shots category as my selection of most overall shots faired better than Topher’s selection of most shots on goal.

Extra Stats

Columbus predictably won the possession battle as they kept the ball 62% of the time and outpassed LAFC 531-329 with better pass accuracy. LAFC had more crosses and fouls than the winners, but Columbus surprisingly had more saves.

Topher’s MLS Cup Final analysis

Nathan is being too humble. As I said in my pre-draft piece, I used his game preview to do research for this draft and what his article taught me paid dividends with my home team selection. I did find it interesting that Columbus was able to be the aggressor, while having fewer offsides. I remember Nathan saying his presumption was the more aggressive team would have more offsides so that was a tough one to lose. So many of the stats were close that subtle margins like three extra shots made all the difference. In looking back we definitely should’ve picked a time of possession stat given Nathan’s breakdown and prediction.

Most Valuable Stat

Nathan definitely got what I think was the stat that represented the greatest area of dominance when he selected most corners. Throughout the game, the pressure that Columbus was putting on LAFC was manifesting in corner kicks and other set pieces. I think that helped them to control the pace of play and gave them opportunities to create pressure points that eventually turned into goals. If we had a way to weigh stats due to dominance that single stat would have put Nathan over the top. One of these days we’ll have features like that so Nathan can take advantage of selecting the most valuable stat. 

Congrats to Columbus Crew for the MLS Cup win.


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