Finishing up their incredible busy stretch of 7 games in only 22 days, the Columbus Crew travel to Foxboro on Wednesday night to face off against the New England Revolution (8:00).
The Crew have quickly climbed their way up the Eastern Conference table in recent weeks. They are undefeated in their last six games, including four straight wins, and are now in a playoff position with 42 points (12-8-6). One of those wins came at home against the Revolution on August 25th in a 4-3 barnburner. This will be the third and final meeting between the two teams this year. The first game in New England on July 16th ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
New England's last game came on Saturday, as they tied the Philadelphia Union at home, 0-0. The Revolution are almost guaranteed to miss the playoffs this season. They are second to last in MLS with only 25 points (6-14-7), are 17 points out of the playoffs, and are winless in their last 10 games.
More after the jump...Columbus' defensive depth will be bolstered on Wednesday after Josh Williams and Julius James return from suspensions. However, Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke will likely remain in the middle. Sebastian Miranda hasn't been rested much during this stretch of games, and both Williams and James can fill for him at right back or Nemanja Vukovic at left back.
In midfield, Milovan Mirosevic and Chris Birchall are the probable starters in the center. Eddie Gaven will likely push forward without rest. Dilly Duka has not had his best stretch of games lately. Emilio Renteria or Justin Meram could replace him on the wing. At this point in the season, points are extremely crucial. Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta can not afford to be rested, especially with a 10-day break following the game.
Meanwhile, New England will be missing both of their starting forwards. Saer Sene, leading the team with 11 goals, tore his ACL last Wednesday night during the Revolution's 3-3 tie with Chivas USA. Honduran international Jerry Bengtson will be missing due to international duty, so midfielder Lee Nguyen will be the most dangerous player on the field for New England. Nguyen has five goals this season.
Prediction: Crew 1-0 Revolution
Without much to play for and missing their most dangerous strikers, New England will fold over to a tired Columbus team.