Columbus Crew 2 hoisted the MLS NEXT Pro Cup trophy Saturday afternoon at Lower.com Field following its commanding 4-1 victory over Western Conference champion St Louis CITY2.
The home side rode the momentum of two first-half goals and added two more after the break to seal the inaugural trophy.
The match began with both sides trading scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity and seemed to be heading to a scoreless first half until it quickly turned on its head.
After over 40 minutes of back-and-forth play, Crew 2 broke the deadlock with a confident penalty from midfielder Isaiah Parente after CITY2 was called for handball during a freekick.
Crew 2 didn’t settle there as the home side doubled the advantage courtesy of a sneaky goal from captain Marco Micaletto that crept past the CITY2 goalkeeper.
It went from bad to worse for CITY2 soon after the break as the visitors conceded a second penalty in the 57th minute.
MLS NEXT Pro MVP and Golden Boot winner Jacen Russell-Rowe stepped up and slotted the PK into the net to give his team a stranglehold on the game.
It marked the forward’s 25th goal in all competitions for Crew 2.
Despite being down 3-0, CITY2 planted a seed of doubt in the final ten minutes of the match with a goal from Celio Pompeu who created several opportunities all game.
However, Crew 2 put out any chance of a CITY2 comeback three minutes later.
Forward Ryan Telfer restored Crew 2’s three-goal advantage after he blasted a rocket past the the CITY2 backline to put a bow on a 4-1 championship win.