Columbus Crew, CF Pachua fans come out in droves to support clubs in Champions Cup final

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PACHUCA, Mexico Self-proclaimed “die-hard” CF Pachuca fan Striven Acosta Viveros has seen the club’s fan base draw big crowds during the multiple regular-season Liga MX matches he attends during the year, but even he was impressed with the number of people outside the stadium on Saturday ahead of the CONCACAF Champions Cup final.

Two hours ahead of kickoff for the Crew-Pachuca title matchup, a line of blue and white jerseys could be seen wrapping around the east entrance at Estadio Hidalgo. The car ramp leading up to the stadium had stall after stall of people trying to sell Pachuca flags, stuffed animals and jerseys.

The fans on that line were going into the stadium, hoping they’d witness their favorite team win its sixth Champions Cup trophy, and were looking to make it as difficult as possible for the Crew.

“I think it’s going to be really loud, a really fun game,” Viveros said. “It gets pretty lit inside; I’d say we’re pretty loud.”

The fans going into the stadium at the south entrance traveled a long way to see if the Crew could make club history and bring home their first Champions Cup title.

With around 400 Columbus fans in attendance, people coming to support Columbus were directed by CONCACAF to enter at the south gates, away from the big crowd of Pachuca fans. From there, they were taken to the two designated supporter sections, where they were allowed to have flags and banners.

According to multiple fans who made the trip to Pachuca, they were told this was a safety measure and that their sections would be guarded by security throughout the match, but they could not leave those sections. This is due to the rule that Liga MX usually restricts supporters from sitting in groups, but the Crew fans were the exception.

While there might be a worry that these groups deal with harassment, which is why groups usually sit apart, multiple Columbus fans told The Dispatch that they’ve had a good experience in the city and near the stadium before entering.

“It’s exciting,” said Michelle Rodgers, a Crew fan from Cedarville, Ohio. “We were a little nervous. … But everybody feels super great. Travel was nice.”

Jun 1, 2024; Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico; CF Pachuca and the Columbus Crew fans take selfies before the match in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup Championship at Estadio Hidalgo. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers decided to make the trip with her family because it was something her son, 21-year-old Mitch Rodgers, felt was important to go see in person. Calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mitch was quick to catch her words.

“Hopefully not,” Mitch said.

It wasn’t just Crew fans who made the trip for this matchup. Edgar De La Cruz, his wife, and kids were all decked out in Pachuca gear waiting to go into the stadium, but they were from Dallas.

An FC Dallas fan when it comes to MLS, De La Cruz has a loyalty to Pachuca, which drew him and his family to the match.

“My parents were born and raised here,” De La Cruz said. “I’ve been a Pachuca fan since I was a little kid.”

Jun 1, 2024; Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico; Signage before the match between CF Pachuca and the Columbus Crew in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup Championship at Estadio Hidalgo. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

While De La Cruz and his family are from out of town, he is an example of how the people with roots in Pachuca are what make the club’s fan base so powerful.

Getty Images photographer Hector Vivas, who shoots Pachuca matches at least once a month, understands how much the locals care about this team.

“This is a very small town, and all the town is supporting Pachuca,” Vivas said. “It’s a European-style stadium (Estadio Hidalgo), so it’s something unique that the fans support a lot.”