Tonight, Crew SC opens a three game home stand that will make or break the season. It’s also the game against the weakest opponent. The Galaxy are the only one of the Western Conference teams coming to town that isn't in the playoffs.
Pedro Santos got his first appearance on Saturday and may be in line for a start. He’s fit and the team needs him as Crew SC is coming off a short week.
There may be more offensive reinforcements on the way. Kekuta Manneh may be ready after recovering from an ankle sprain while Federico Higuain is cleared to play and may be finally ready for game action. Berhalter has been mum on how the team will lineup, but it’s likely that he’ll make the 18 and there’s even a chance that the crafty Argentine gets a surprise start.
LA will be missing some star power too. Giovani dos Santos and Jermaine Jones are injured and Jelle van Damme transferred, but Romain Alessandrini has traveled and is a game time decision. The Frenchman has been key for LA as he leads the team in goals and assists.
Keys to the match:
Making the pieces fit: Higuain has been cleared to play, but Berhalter has been coy on whether his playmaker will appear. The question remains how Crew SC would play with Santos, Justin Meram, and Higuain at the same time. Berhalter may dodge the question for another game as Higuain is not likely starting fit after such a long layoff, but there’s the possibility that the 4-2-3-1 may reappear.
Rotation Questions: LA haven’t played in a week and a half. They may be shorthanded due to injury, but those who are available will be well rested. Crew SC played Saturday and have another game on the following Saturday. It’s another stern test of how Berhalter can set up the team to weather the fatigue of midweek matches. He will have to pick and choose his spots to rest workhorses like Meram, Ola Kamara, and Wil Trapp while monitoring players still trying to get fit like Santos and Higuain.
Goals wanted: Without Higuain, the offense hasn’t been as sharp. Meram hasnt had a lot of help creating and has appeared selfish over the past weeks. Crew SC can desperately use some creativitt moving the ball forward beyond the overworked Iraqi. that means the team needs to get Pedro Santos involved early and often and hope you gets up to speed quickly.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Wednesday Aug. 23rd, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Watch: MyTV Columbus, Spectrum Sports (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)