Columbus Crew SC could use some home cooking after a rough stretch of road games. Losses in Colorado and Atlanta stung and have sent Crew SC to 6th place in the Eastern Conference. Columbus last won against Seattle at home on May 30th and could use a win against fellow conference playoff hopefuls to arrest their slide.
Gregg Berhalter will have a nearly full roster to pick from. Workhorses Justin Meram, Federico Higuain, and Ola Kamara had a full week of training while Kekuta Manneh is back to training after a scan revealed his foot injury was a sprain. Only Niko Hansen is on the injury list.
The visiting Montreal Impact will be a tired bunch as they played a tense midweek match against Toronto FC in the first leg of the finals of the Canadian Championship. Laurent Ciman, Marco Donadel, Matteo Mancosu, Blerim Dzemaili, and Ignacio Piatti all played 90 minutes and will be playing on short rest with the second leg coming up. The Impact could be playing a greatly changed side with a heavy slate of games upcoming.
Keys to the Match:
Endurance Test: Montreal is facing a short turnaround after playing on Wednesday evening. Crew SC will be well rested. The home side should be trying to tire out a weary team or take advantage of a rotated side with speedy play and relentless pressure.
Breaking out: The Impact has been playing very compact with a flexible 5-3-2 and will be looking to absorb pressure and looking to counter. The Crew SC defense will have to guard against overextending if the capture large amount of possession as Piatti and company are adept at hitting on the counter.
Close quarters: There won’t likely be as much space behind the Montreal defense. Crew SC will have to be able to link up in tight spaces which means that Meram and Higuain will likely be more important than usual. Their skill on the ball will be vital in creating chances against the numbers the Impact will hold back.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Saturday June 24th, 7:30 pm
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Watch: The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)