Crew SC has a chance to go into the upcoming international break sitting pretty as they could finish up August with their third straight result. FC Dallas is looking to desperately stop a five game winless slide.
Both teams will be fatigued. Crew SC played LA midweek after a trip to Orlando. FC Dallas lost in Kansas City, then tied midweek at home to Houston. There will be some heavy legs.
Gregg Berhalter will have to balance a team where some pieces are coming back from injury and some have played extensively. He turned to the 4-2-3-1 with Federico Higuain back and may do so again tonight as the playmaker is getting back to full fitness. Pedro Santos has been ramping up his playing time and may be ready for a full 90 minutes while Artur and Harrison Afful race to get fit.
Dallas will also have to figure out who has the legs to play and who needs to sit. The team’s offensive leader Max Irruti may be given a breather to start while the underwhelming offseason addition Cristian Colman has another chance to impress.
Behind the front line, Oscar Pareja still can rely on the industry and skill of a potent midfield trio of Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta, and Michael Barrios to try and hold the game.
Keys to the match:
The need for speed: Justin Meram looked spent in his 90 minutes on Wednesday which opens the door for the return of a fully healthy Kekuta Manneh. If the speedster gets the nod on his preferred left wing he’ll be going up against brief Crew SC right back Hernan Grana. The Argentine loves to get forward and Manneh may enjoy the chance to get behind the defense.
How much is left in the tank: Berhalter was caught a bit on Wednesday as he had to make an injury sub. He had to balance the minutes of his attacking quartet of Higuain, Santos, Meram, and Ola Kamara. Meram and Kamara went the full 90 while Santos and Higuain were subbed. Just how much can each of those players can contribute as the game progresses will bear close watching and may force an early sub.
A big D test: The big D will test Crew SC’s newly settled D. Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, and Lalas Abubakar have all played well in recent weeks, but those performances were against weaker attacking sides. Dallas will present a stronger challenge than a weakened Galaxy did. Can Jonathan and crew keep another offense in check?
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Saturday Aug. 26th, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Watch: The CW, Spectrum Sports (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)