Columbus Crew SC return to MAPFRE Stadium for another home match this evening as they prepare to face off against New York City FC for the first leg of the MLS Cup playoff Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Black & Gold are riding high following an inspired performance in the knockout round against Atlanta United in which they outlasted the Five Stripes and were victorious in a penalty kick shootout.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen was unworldly in that match and looks to continue his run of form tonight against the Bronx Blues. Steffen has a terrific performance the last time these teams met as he prohibited NYCFC star David Villa for claiming a hat trick on Decision Day.
NYCFC haven’t set foot on the field for a competitive match since the last contest with Crew SC on Oct. 22 which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Keys to the match:
Play off the crowd: Fans who are in attendance at MAPFRE Stadium are there for one reason, to support their local soccer club. Given the current situation surrounding the team, players like Wil Trapp and Josh Williams will be hellbent on putting on a good show. The 12th man will be a tremendous influence for the players Tuesday night.
Prevent the away goal: The away goals rule is a killer in playoff soccer, and given the fact that NYCFC possess some tremendous talents like Jack Harrison, David Villa, and Rodney Wallace, the Black & Gold must remain guarded and stick to a solid defensive game plan. Crew SC experienced entirely too many close calls against Atlanta and those could have went in the favor of the Five Stripes. Limiting scoring opportunities for New York will be crucial in this affair.
Hot for keeper: Steffen is playing the best goalkeeping of his young career right now and could find his way onto the USMNT roster soon. Columbus need to trust their young keeper as he demonstrates time and again that he is ready for big match moments.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Tuesday Oct. 31st, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)