Clashing against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night (7:30), the Columbus Crew hope to break a three game winless streak and continue their dominance over Canadian teams this season.
Columbus' record is currently 2-3-1 (seven points), with their two wins coming against the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC. Meanwhile, over in the Western Conference, Vancouver's record stands at 3-2-2 (eleven points).
This will be the only meeting between these two teams this year. In 2011, the Crew won both games against the Whitecaps. On April 30th, Emilio Renteria's two goals propelled Columbus to a 2-1 home victory. On July 6th, the Crew left Vancouver as 1-0 winners after a late Jeff Cunningham goal.
The Whitecaps most recently played last Saturday, defeating FC Dallas at home 1-0. Vancouver's goal came in the 11th minute by way of a left-footed shot by Camilo. Columbus also played on April 21st, going down to Houston before retaking the lead. Unfortunately, Houston scored in the 81st minute, tying the game 2-2.
Prediction and more after the jump...After sending out a somewhat different starting XI against Houston, expect the same from Robert Warzycha tomorrow. The Crew lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation against the Dynamo. Josh WIlliams is still the best bet to start beside Chad Marshall in center defense. Nemanja Vukovic was very impressive at left back in his first ever MLS start. If all goes well, he will have another solid game against Vancouver. Danny O'Rourke is mostly day-to-day with his ankle injury, but he is great at playing the defensive midfielder destroyer position. When he plays, that allows Milovan Mirosevic more room to attack.
The two most probable changes to the lineup, if any, would include Ethan Finlay at right midfield instead of Tony Tchani and Aaron Schoenfeld at forward instead of Emilio Renteria. Finlay and Schoenfeld, both rookies, have proved themselves to be solid, attacking options. Tchani's natural position is in the center of the field, and even though his passing completion percentage was very good, he may not be the best attacking player for that wide spot. Schoenfeld picked up his first MLS assist last game after coming on as a sub.
For Vancouver, Sebastian Le Toux leads the attack with three goals. However, Vancouver's attack isn't always the most potent, as they can go long amounts of time without even registering a shot on goal. Their defense (anchored by goalie Joe Cannon, center back Jay Demerit, and left back Lee Young-Pyo) is particularly sturdy, recording five clean sheets out of seven games.
Prediction: Crew 2-1 Whitecaps
Last game, Columbus played with motivation, desire, and a will to attack. They almost came out with a victory. Tomorrow, hopefully the players have the same mentality and get back to winning ways.