An up and down season with plenty of off the field distractions is now down to 90 minutes in Washington. Tonight is a “winner moves on” game against a red hot D.C. United team. Win and the New York Red Bulls await; lose and it’s on to what likely will be an offseason of change.
This is a matchup of opposites. Columbus has struggled as the season came to a close, winning twice in the final seven games. D.C. United is 7-0-3 over their last 10 games. No team in MLS is hotter. D.C.’s streak has been fueled by the arrival of English attacker Wayne Rooney. He has proven the final piece of a team that shot up from the bottom of the conference table to secure the fourth spot and a home knockout game.
Crew SC has struggled as the year long distraction of possible relocation was replaced by the distraction of the possible departure of head coach Gregg Berhalter. The team struggled to close out the season with their last wins coming over two of the Western Conference’s worst teams, Colorado and Minnesota, both at MAPFRE. United at Audi will prove to be a much stronger challenge.
122’+ Crew SC substitution: Afful off, Patrick Mullins on.
120’+ Higuain lets fly from way out, with his left foot. Over.
116’ DeLeon ties it up after Zardes clears it right to him at the top of the box.
108’ Crew SC substitution: Hector Jimenez on for the injured Santos. Banged knees, stayed down, got back up and then went back down. Santos had to be stretchered off.
HT in OT: Crew SC 2 D.C. 1
106’ Sosa just got a yellow card while warming up...
102’ D.C. substitution: Moreno off, Darren Mattocks on.
96’ Affuls’s cross finds the head of Higuain who heads home from about 10 yards out. GOOOOOALL
OT is underway.
90+2’ Acosta fires another one. It’s wide.
90’ Acosta’s effort from just outside the box is tipped over the crossbar by Steffen.
85’ Santos tries again from long range. This one is finger tipped why by Hamid.
77’ A rip from Pedro from outside the box is narrowly over the crossbar.
69’ D.C. substitution: Arriola off, Nick DeLeon on.
63’ Higuain with a long-range effort. Hamid able to dive and corral.
62’ Crew SC substitution: Niko Hansen on for Justin Meram.
54’ Meram fires a shot from well out. It rolls to Hamid.
48’ The Crew corner hits Zardes in the chest but he can’t get a shot on goal.
46’ Crew SC kick off and the second half is underway
HT: Crew SC 1 D.C. 1
45’ Higuain picks up a yellow card for dissent.
38’ Crew SC corner finds the head of Jonathan but he can’t put it on frame.
36’ Afful’s cross finds Meram but he puts it over the crossbar.
31’ Meram is sprung behind by Valenzuela. He plays a low cross that pinballs around. Higuain is there for the finish. 1-1 and game on!
24’ Zardes’ touch takes him wide inside the box. He lays a ball off to Trapp whose shot is deflected wide.
21’ After Steffen can’t handle a high effort, Brillant is there to head it home. 1-0 D.C.
17’ GREAT chance for Crew SC. Ball floated in for Trapp and Zardes gets a header from the six-yard box. He puts it right at Hamid.
12’ Meram and Valenzuela get their wires crossed. Milton thought Justin was going to goal and stopped his run. Meram faked and played Valenzuela through. Goal kick D.C.
8’ Rooney with a chance in the box but Jonathan blocks. #CrewSC want a hand ball on the play that led to the chance. Now a #D.C. corner.
2’ Zardes picks up the ball and drives into the box. He fires a shot from the right side but it’s wide of the mark.
2’ A one-touch pass from Higuain inside the penalty box is just too strong for Meram. Goes out for a goal kick.
1’ We’re underway from D.C. as United kicks off to start the match!
Ralph Schudel looks at the Rooney led United team and how Crew SC can knock them off. The Black & Gold want to “shock the league” and are relishing the underdog role according to Pat Murphy. The staff aren’t convinced Columbus can pull off an upset of the hottest team in the league.
Injuries & Suspensions:
Columbus Crew SC: The team will be missing Mike Grella who is remains out, but everyone else is available, including Zack Steffen who suffered a bump on his forehead in a collision on Sunday.
D.C. United: The injury list is long. Defender Taylor Kemp has been out long term after surgery for a torn labrum in June. Defenders Oniel Fisher and Kofi Opare are out after surgeries ended their seasons. Vytas failed to make an appearance before suffering a hip injury. Chris Odoi-Atsem is battling Hogkin’s lymphoma as he looks to return in 2019.
How to watch:
Date: Thursday, November 1st, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Audi Field (Washington D.C.)
TV: FS1, Unimas