Columbus Crew beat Monterrey in Champions Cup semis first leg

Jacen Russell-Rowe contributed the winning goal and an assist as the host Columbus Crew earned a 2-1 victory over Monterrey on Wednesday in the first leg of a Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal series.

The two-leg, total-goal series will conclude on May 1 in Guadalupe, Mexico.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Russell-Rowe headed home the winner in the 72nd minute after setting up Cucho Hernández's goal in the 25th. Monterrey had pulled level on a goal from Maximiliano Meza in the 58th minute.

The decisive play started with a corner kick from the Crew's Diego Rossi. Sean Zawadzki flicked a header from the near post to the back post, where Russell-Rowe charged in to send the ball into the net on the first bounce.

Earlier in the second half, Monterrey's Jesús Gallardo corralled a long pass down the left flank on a counter-attack and dribbled into the penalty area. He chipped a cross through the 6-yard box, and Meza had a simple tap-in at the far post.

In the first half, Hernandez scored on a nice one-two with Russell-Rowe. In traffic at midfield, Hernandez tapped a short pass to Russell-Rowe, who immediately slipped a return ball as Hernandez raced toward the top of the 18-yard box. Hernandez fired a low, right-footed shot in the bottom left corner.

The other semifinal series began Tuesday, with Pachuca and host Club America playing to a 1-1 draw in an all-Mexican matchup.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.