Last time these two met, Columbus Crew SC got a big win to vault up the standings and push into the playoffs. They could use another big win as they are 20th in the standings and looking to scrape back into the playoff picture.
D.C. United provides an excellent chance for Crew SC to begin the turnaround. The visitors are 1-2-2 in their last five and have slipped to seventh in the conference, a fellow playoff struggler.
The visitors are struggling in front of the net, with a second worst 17 goals on the season. There is still danger in the lineup. Álvaro Saborío leads the United offense with four goals while offseason arrivals Lamar Neagle and Luciano Acosta have both added four assists.
Tonight's opponent are getting results with a stingy defense. They've conceded a third best in the league 20 goals. In contrast, the Black & Gold have given up 29. The teams are flawed in similar ways with offense and defense out of balance.
Keys to the Match
Who will "Higuain": Columbus has struggled since Federico Higuain was sidelined with injury. Mohammed Saied, Hector Jimenez, Cristian Martinez, Dilly Duka, and finally on Wednesday, Justin Meram have been tried out in that spot. No one has been effective. Berhalter needs someone to step up and be dangerous.
Speed in the open field: United won't give too many chances to counter likely, but Columbus needs to take advantage of those opportunities as D.C. has the defensive shape and height to deal with Crew SC's possession based attack.
No good chances: Toronto only had a couple of real chances on Wednesday, but they were taken in very good spots in transition. It will take a team effort to slow the United transition game and limit the good chances.