Columbus Crew SC is riding high after a third straight win against an previously unbeaten Orlando City team. They face the Chicago Fire for the second time, but for the first time since the addition of Bastian Schweinsteiger to the Fire’s powerful midfield.
Schweinsteiger had a goal in his debut and showed off world class flashes and scored a goal. His quality is clear, but problems remain for the Fire as he needs to develop a rapport with two offseason additions in Dax McCarty and the suspended Juninho. That will be a challenge against the Artur/Trapp midfield tandem.
Crew SC have a new addition of their own in Kekuta Manneh. The speedster from the Whitecaps arrived too late to make the gameday roster for Crew SC last week, but played 45 minutes in a reserve match and appears ready for action and is likely to land on the bench. He gives Columbus a different look than Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram, and rookie Niko Hansen.
The Fire offense hasn’t been incisive yet, but Crew SC posted a second shutout of the season against Orlando as rookie Alex Crognale was able to step in for Jonathan Mensah and may do so again this week.
Keys to the Match
Midfield Battle: Crew SC has been very good over the winning streak due to the performances of Artur and Trapp. Without the suspended Juninho, Crew SC will look to take advantage through the center of the field, much like they did to Orlando.
Stay the course: For the first time this season, Crew SC may line up with the same starting eleven. Jonathan Mensah remained limited this week in practice so Alex Crognale is the bet to step in. Columbus may appreciate the continuity, especially on the back line.
Need for Speed: Accam is well know to Crew SC as a dangerous gamebreaker with his speed, but now Columbus has one of their very own in Kekuta Manneh. The new addition may prove valuable if Crew SC are chasing a goal or trying to close out the game and need an outlet.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Saturday April 8th, 2:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Toyota Stadium (Bridgeview, Illinois)
Watch: ABC-6 (WSYX), Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)