Game Day 18: Columbus Crew at Los Angeles Galaxy

USA TODAY Sports

Both teams are struggling, but the Crew need a result to stay in the playoff hunt.

Columbus now sits in eighth place and desperately need points to keep up with the playoff pack. Another loss would be a devastating blow and a tie would still see them lose ground.

The Lineup: Matias Sanchez returns and Jairo Arrieta leaves for the Gold Cup. That will mean that Robert Warzycha will likely put Sanchez into the lineup with Ben Speas replacing Jairo Arrieta on the left.

Gruenebaum; Barson, Williams, Marshall, Wahl; O'Rourke, Sanchez; Anor, Higuain, Speas; Oduro

Crew on Offense: The offense is struggling. Dominic Oduro has been exceptional at putting defenders under pressure and causing turnovers. He has three goals in three games by picking defenders pockets and going on goal. Jairo Arrieta's bombing run caught Sporting Kansas City off balance. The team has essentially attacked on the counter.

The Crew have struggled when facing a set defense. The Galaxy defense is struggling with the back line giving up chances so there is hope. The Crew have tried moving players around, but there won't be as much shifting around on offense with Arrieta out. Oduro will stay high with Speas and Bernardo Anor swapping sides occasionally.

The movement will have to come from deep. That often means wing backs, but ideally the runs should come centrally. Sanchez, unaccounted for, would cause problems and free up space for Higuain and the rest of the attack. The team has tried to spread the field horizontally. They need to try vertically.

Crew on Defense: The Galaxy are also struggling in their last five games. They will be without Landon Donovan, but will still have Robbie Keane. The Irish international has been key to the L.A. attack. He has five goals and six assists. His movement is excellent and he may be the best finisher in the league. Chad Marshall and Josh Williams will have to keeping track of him.

The rest of the offense relies on youth with Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean seeing quite a bit of action. They also have worked to bring the out of form Robbie Rogers into the mix. Without Donovan, Rogers in the only attacking width on the team which will help protect Chad Barson and Tyson Wahl.

Final Walkthrough: The Crew play with determination and fire, but are struggling to finish chances. L.A. is playing the same way with an inexperienced front line not getting off good shots. The game will turn on how well the Crew can create chances and whether L.A. finishes theirs.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1 - Crew 1

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