Columbus Crew SC desperately need a win as they are currently hanging on to sixth place in the conference by two points over the New York Red Bulls and three points ahead of the Philadelphia Union. Minnesota United is struggling in the Western Conference. They are currently four points behind the L.A. Galaxy, but are in danger of slipping out of the playoff hunt if they can't grab points at home.
Crew SC will be fatigued and there is likely to be some changes. Justin Meram is nursing an ankle injury and the defense struggled as a unit on Saturday. That may mean Kekuta Manneh may feature in the offense with Federico Higuain, Ola Kamara, and Ethan Finlay.
On defense, Jonathan Mensah and Harrison Afful especially struggled which might signal the return of Nicolai Naess and Hector Jimenez to the lineup.
Minnesota’s injury list is long. Marc Burch and Vadim Demidov have been on the long term injury list. Brent Kallman is a recent addition to the injury list, while Francisco Calvo and Jermaine Taylor are on international duty.
Keys to the Match:
Playing through the fatigue: Minnesota United had two extra days of rest, with their defeat to NYCFC taking place last Thursday. Crew SC has a much shorter turnaround after their loss on Saturday evening. Columbus will have to battle through tired legs to get a result. That means the bench will have to step up whether Crew SC has the lead or is chasing the game.
Opportunity knocks: Crew SC may have the tired legs, but they have the fuller roster. Minnesota United’s defense has been poor this season and is weakened further through injuries and call-ups. An opportunistic Columbus offense could get back on track, much like they did against the Montreal Impact a week and a half ago.
Going Wide: Crew SC usually plays wide, but the attack may be spread even further tonight with the possibility of Manneh and Finlay both starting on opposite wings means that Columbus would be able to stretch the field as they spread the ball around. The two speedsters would give Higuain, Trapp, Artur, and Naess a couple long outlets to test a defense that hasn’t played together as a unit.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Tuesday July 4th, 7:00 p.m.
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, MN)
Watch: My TV Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)