The race for the playoffs is all but over. With only four games left, Crew SC’s eight point deficit is too much to realistically overcome. Columbus still has something to play for, pride, jobs in 2017, and with four more points, being spared the ignominy of being the worst team in Crew SC history.
Columbus will have to try with heavy legs and likely a changed lineup. Harrison Afful was lifted from Wednesday’s game with an injury and is unlikely to feature. Several other players have played the full 90 minutes twice this week already, including Ethan Finlay, Mohammed Saeid, Nicolai Naess, and Ola Kamara. The offense may look a little different.
The opponents, the Chicago Fire also are playing with heavy legs. They played in New York last Friday before heading to Seattle for a Wednesday matchup. They’ve logged significant frequent flyer miles and will also be struggling through the lag of so many games with coast to coast flights.
Keys to the Match
Rotation: The third game in seven days (including a trip to DC) means that there will be some heavy legs. Berhalter is likely to change the lineup and finding a rhythm will be important.
Mind the gaps: Crew SC pushes up, but that leaves space on the counter. David Accam is blazing fast and thrives on the ability to get into the open, that’s a big test for the Columbus defense.
Holding on until the end: No team is as poor in the last part of games. If Crew SC hold a lead, the team will need to weather the pressure in the last 15 minutes in hopes of not dropping yet more points.
How to Watch
Date/Time: October 1st, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Television: CW Columbus, TWC SportsChannel
Online: MLS Live
Radio: CD 102.5 (English), La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)