Major League Soccer

Need to Know: MLS Cup Presented by Audi

December 5, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

It all comes down to this: Columbus Crew vs. LAFC for MLS Cup presented by Audi.

Where: Field in Columbus, Ohio

When: Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: MLS Season Pass / FOX / FOX Deportes / TSN / RDS

Reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC return for a second consecutive title match and on a journey to become just the fourth club in league history to win back-to-back MLS Cup titles and the first since cross-town rivals LA Galaxy in 2011 and 2012.

This is the Columbus Crew's first MLS Cup appearance since winning their second title in 2020 and an opportunity for the club to become the third team in league history to win at least three MLS Cup titles with a victory on Saturday, joining the LA Galaxy (5) and D.C. United (4).

Media members are encouraged to keep up with all the latest news and media availabilities throughout MLS Cup presented by Audi week by accessing the full schedule of media events, including links to join opportunities virtually, here.

How They Got Here: Columbus Crew

Round One Best-of-3 Series: 2-1 series win vs. No. 6 Atlanta United

Eastern Conference Semifinal: 2-0 win at No. 2 Orlando City SC

Eastern Conference Final: 3-2 win at No. 1 FC Cincinnati

The Crew has been a goal-scoring machine in its first year under head coach Wilfried Nancy, scoring more goals than any other team during the regular season (67) and postseason (13) in 2023. Nancy will now look to cap off a tremendous first season in Columbus with his first and the club's third MLS Cup title in front of his home crowd. Field will also host its second championship match of 2023 and its fourth since opening in July 2021. The Crew and Columbus Crew 2 are collectively 2-1-0 across those championship games on home soil, and the Crew will look to add an MLS Cup trophy to the Campeones Cup and MLS NEXT Pro Cup that were won at their home stadium.

Players in Focus

Cucho Hernández: With four goals and two assists through five games in his debut postseason, Hernández has carried over his regular season dominance and powered the Crew back to MLS Cup for a chance at a third star above their logo.

Darlington Nagbe: Three MLS Cup winners' medals isn't a bad haul during an MLS career, but a fourth would put Nagbe in elite company as just the 10th player in league history to do so and potentially the fourth to start three finals with three different teams.

Patrick Schulte: The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year has had a dream debut MLS season, earning the starting role for the Crew to start the year and continuing his strong form throughout their run to MLS Cup presented by Audi.

How They Got Here: LAFC

Round One Best-of-3 Series: 2-0 series win vs. No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Eastern Conference Semifinal: 1-0 win at No. 2 Seattle Sounders FC

Eastern Conference Final: 2-0 win vs. No. 4 Houston Dynamo FC

Head coach Steve Cherundolo has proven he knows how to get his team to championship matches, reaching MLS Cup for a second consecutive year while also leading his team to a Concacaf Champions Cup Final in just his first two years as a head coach.

LAFC return to MLS Cup with most of the same core group that won them the title in 2022, with reinforcements coming in the form of breakthrough midfielder Timothy Tillman and U.S. Men's National Team defender Aaron Long as well as the young trio of 21-year-old Uruguay international Cristian Olivera, 22-year-old Mateusz Bogusz, and 20-year-old Stipe Biuk.

Players in Focus

Dénis Bouanga: The 2023 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner dominated during the Best-of-3 Series against Vancouver and dealt the killer blow to Seattle in the Conference Semifinals, and now a goal-filled year has built up to another MLS Cup.

Maxime Crépeau: After recovering from a long-term injury suffered during MLS Cup 2022, Crépeau leads all goalkeepers in the postseason with three shutouts and has been a man on a mission to be there this time if LAFC lift the trophy.

Ryan Hollingshead: A seasoned defender who provided the experience for LAFC's first MLS Cup title has now turned into a goal machine with three in four games, including what proved to be the game-winning goal over Houston Dynamo FC.

2023 MLS Cup presented by Audi will see the Eastern Conference champion Columbus Crew host the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Football Club at Field in Columbus, Ohio, this Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. ET (MLS Season Pass/FOX/ FOX Deportes/TSN/ RDS).

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