Since returning from the long Gold Cup break, Columbus Crew SC has featured in a mixed bag of results. The Black & Gold defeated the Philadelphia Union 1-0 at home, lost 3-0 on the road to Philly and drew 2-2 at Real Salt Lake.
And that was all in the span of a week.
With a return to normalcy this week, Crew SC travel out west again to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. We do not expect Federico Higuain (knee) or Harrison Afful (thigh strain) to feature in this one — both are listed as questionable — although Columbus will get back central defenders Jonathan Mensah and Lalas Abubakar from suspension.
Speaking of a mixed bag, the Earthquakes. The San Jose side has been very good at home, only one loss on the season, but poor on the road. The group is led by U.S. international Chris Wondolowski, who has eight goals on the year. The next closest Quakes attacker has just three.
This is a side that has been leaky defensively —34 goals conceded — and does not score many on the other end — just 24 on the year. The Black & Gold will try and take advantage in search of a second straight result away from MAPFRE Stadium.
Keys to the match:
Road Warriors: One of the keys to the second half of the season for Crew SC is getting results on the road. Last week, the Black & Gold managed that, despite being undermanned, at RSL, now can they do it again? It was a longer flight this week, but the team traveled out west a day early. Will that help?
Three-man backlines: Like Columbus, San Jose has recently experimented with a three-in-the-back look. Last week against the Colorado Rapids, it worked to the tune of a 1-0 victory. There’s a solid chance Chris Leitch’s side tries that again in this match. We expect Crew SC will play that way also, so who can do it better?
Containing Wondo: As mentioned above, Wondolowski has been nearly all of the goals for San Jose. He’s also leads the team in assists with five. This is an offense that creates chances, but not great ones and has trouble capitalizing when they are good. The Black & Gold must make sure it contains, Wondolowski, does not give up anything easy and makes the Quakes earn its chances.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Saturday Aug. 5th, 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Avaya Stadium (San Jose, CA)
Watch: CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)