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Preview: Columbus Crew at Sporting Kansas City

The Crew have a chance to score a rare victory at Sporting Park.

Federico Higuain and Danny O'Rourke are back after card suspension and Brian Bliss has his second game in charge. The Crew need to keep winning to have any chance at the playoffs. Kansas City will be missing Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, giving the Crew a solid shot at the upset.

The Lineup: The Crew gets back Higuain so Bliss will certainly shuffle the lineup again.

Lampson; Williams, Gehrig, Marshall, Wahl; Finlay, Trapp, Higuain, Meram, Finley, Oduro

Crew on Offense: It sounds like Higuain will be sitting underneath two strikers, setting up the offense. This will be a little different than past games as Higuain will have two options in front of him to work with.

The Crew's wing play will be pivotal in trying to keep balance between offense and defense. Higuain will be freed to attack and the wide players will be tasked with holding possession against the three man midfield from Sporting Kansas City. When Meram and Finlay tuck centrally, they can match up with the superior numbers that Kansas City can put centrally.

Crew on Defense: Higuain's free role changes the team shape. The Crew played a flattish diamond on Wednesday. Wil Trapp and Bernardo Anor both did defensive work, but Higuain would be wasted with significant tracking back.

As alluded to earlier, Kansas City likes to play a 4-3-3 with three centrally positioned midfielders. The Crew will be outgunned if Trapp doesn't get help. If Meram or Finlay are slow to tuck in, the Kansas City midfield, even under gunned as it is can do damage.

Final Walkthrough: Columbus will be back to full strength and Kansas City will be missing some key parts. It should be enough for a tie.

Crew 1 - Sporting Kansas City 1