The Crew may be saved, but saving the season will come down to the 90 minutes regular season finale between Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United. A strong season that had them climb to third, within touching distance of the Red Bulls and Atlanta United has seen them drop below NYCFC, DC United, and the Union in the last two months.
The Black & Gold have a tenuous grasp on sixth place, with Montreal two points back. The team has swooned over the last month and has missed chances to lock a playoff spot after failing to win against Philadelphia, Montreal, and Orlando City. Three points in any of those games would have put the team in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
United’s season has been effectively over for months. Currently in ninth place, 13 points away from the playoffs. They’ve suffered some key injuries this season on offense, but the story has been another poor year from the defense. They have the third worst defense in the league, giving up 68, nearly equaling last year’s 70.
84’ Afful plays Hansen near the endline and the winger plays a one-time ball across that Zardes redirects home. 3-2 Crew SC.
77’ All tied up. Calvo with another one. 2-2.
75’ Crew SC substitution: Patrick Mullins on for Higuain.
68’ The Loons pull one back. The free kick is played into the box and an open Calvo fires a shot home. 2-1 Crew SC.
66’ Crew SC substitution: Lalas Abubakar on for Sauro.
61’ Quickly Santos gets in on the offensive action. He fires a shot on goal but it’s saved by Lampson.
60’ Crew SC substitution: Justin Meram off, Pedro Santos on.
49’ Higuain’s free kick shot is spilled by Lampson. Zardes is there to finish for his second goal of the game. 2-0 Crew SC.
48’ Danladi curls a good effort but it’s wide of Steffen’s goal.
HT: Crew SC 1 Minnesota 0
41’ Steffen comes out to try and get a loose ball but Sauro slides and kicks it away. Steffen is down after he collided with Rodriguez. He took a knee to his head.
40’ A ball leaks out to Valenzuela on the left side. His cross finds a wide open Hansen on the back side but he can’t finish with the left foot.
35’ A good chance for Minnesota. Ibarra fires a shot from close range and it’s blocked but the Loons want a hand ball. No call from the referee.
23’ Higuain plays a dangerous through ball for Zardes. He’s able to body his defender and get turned inside the box but his shot is blocked out for a Crew SC corner.
18’ At the end of a long run, Higuain fires a shot across Lampson’s goal but never challenges the Minnesota keeper.
15’ A good combination of passes from Higuain to Meram and Meram to Valenzuela. He curls a ball into the box looking for Zardes. The ball is knocked back by the defender and Lampson has to punch the ball behind.
11’ Less than two minutes after the delay ended, Zardes heads home a Valenzuela cross for a 1-0 Crew SC lead.
10’ The game has begun… again. Crew throw in.
The delay is over and the teams are warming up. The game will resume at 6:02 PM Eastern.
At the 9:09 mark, we head into a lightning delay.
9’ Afful tries a cross from the right side but it ends up right tin the hands of Lampson.
1’ We’re underway from MAPFRE Stadium.
Minnesota United has nothing to play for but Ralph Schudel highlights what has gone right for the Loons, starting with Darwin Quintero. Jacob Schneider talked to Pat Murphy for the inside scoop on the Loons. The staff thinks that Crew SC can seal the deal and optimistic that they’ll get three points. Kim McCauley highlights how an up and down season comes down to a single game.
Injuries & Suspensions:
Columbus Crew SC: The team will be missing Mike Grella who is out for a month with left knee surgery, but the bigger absence will be the suspension to Jonathan Mensah. Berhalter will have to replace his key centerback.
Minnesota United: The Loons injury list is long. Midfielder Sam Cronin is out with cervicogenic headaches. Wingers Kevin Molino and Ethan Finlay are both out with ACL injuries that ended their seasons early. Starting goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s back injury has him sidelined while backup keeper Alex Kapp is also out. Alexi Gomez and Harrison Heath are both suspended as a result of the end of game fight for the game against Colorado.
How to watch:
Date: Sunday, October 28st, 2018, 4:45 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
TV: CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2