Fortress MAPFRE has been anything but in 2016. However Columbus Crew SC will need all three points if they want to climb the Conference standings. The team is in 10th place and six points back from the last playoff spot.
The ageless Chris Wondolowski leads the Quakes with nine goals, but new striker Henok Goitom has been building fitness since joining in the transfer window. He has two sub appearances, but may be ready for a start. Big things are expected for the striker they brought in with Targeted Allocation Money.
The Quakes have precious little flair and creativity with Shea Salinas and Alberto Quintero tied for the assist lead with four a piece. The flashy Matias Perez Garcia was traded to Orlando earlier in the month after failing to find his form.
Both teams will be playing the third game in eight days and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has leaned on his core during the stretch. His preferred offensive starters, Ethan Finlay, Ola Kamara, Federico Higuain, and Justin Meram started both games and played extensively.
Likewise, the backline of Harrison Afful, Michael Parkhurst, Nicolai Naess, and Hector Jimenez started both and only Jimenez was substituted and the others playing the full 180 minutes. While not a starting option, Gaston Sauro is nearing his return and may provide solidity in reserve.
Keys to the Match
- First goal wins: They scored first in New England, but the Union scored on Wednesday. Crew SC defeated the Revolution and Philly took all three points. Columbus doesn’t have the defense to hold opponents that often this year. Falling behind could be catastrophic.
- Fatigue: Both teams are playing again after a midweek matchup. Columbus didn’t travel while San Jose had to fly cross country. Which team can push through the heavy legs of playing in the heat of summer for the third time in a week?
- Who steps up: Crew SC will have to rely on backups tonight. Adam Jahn or Dilly Duka may not start, but they’ll likely see some action. Jahn scored on Wednesday, who will make plays when the match is on the line.
How to Watch
Date/Time: August 27th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Television: CW Columbus, TWC SportsChannel
Online: MLS Live
Radio: CD 102.5 (English), La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)