This is a battle for first place in the Eastern Conference. Columbus Crew SC is at 27 points with a 7-3-6 record over Atlanta United, who has been at the top of the league table with an exceptional 9-3-3 record, good for 30 points.
Crew SC in undefeated through nine games, grinding out results as depth was tested and in two cases playing short handed on the road. Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp missed time due to National Team duty. Pedro Santos and Jonathan Mensah suffered injuries that kept them out of the lineup. Columbus kept rolling through a very tough schedule. Atlanta may be the toughest yet.
United has built off their strong first season to be a complete team in 2018. They are still able to create chances and score on just about any team and the defense has improved into a solid and dependable unit. Josef Martinez may be the goal scorer, he has a league leading 13, but Miguel Almiron is the creator who thrives in transition. The Argentine has six goals and six assists on the season, but may not play due to an injury suffered over the weekend.
83’ Adam Jahn on for Wil Trapp.
82’ Atlanta hit Crew SC on the counter attack and it’s 2-0. Villalba with the finish. Ball game.
81’ Yellow card to Trapp for a professional foul.
75’ A switch from Afful is knocked back in front for Zardes, but he can’t touch it home. Crew SC just haven’t been able to finish anything.
72’ Yellow card for Escobar for dissent.
71’ Argudo cuts up Parkhurst and fires a near-post shot, but Guzan makes the save.
71’ Almiron led a 3 v. 1 break for Atlanta and he goes alone and fires a shot wide. That was strange.
64’ Crew SC substitutions: Argudo on for Martinez and Sosa on for Santos.
51’ Zardes goes 1 on 1 with Parkhurst and beats him. His shot forces a good save from Guzan, who collects the rebound so Martinez can’t tap it into the net.
The second half begins with United up 1-0. Martinez off for Atlanta.
HT: Atlanta 1 CrewSC 0
3 minutes of first half stoppage time.
41’ Pedro hurts on to his left foot and fires a shot, but it’s right at Guzan.
38’ Pipa squirts a ball wide to Valenzuela and keeps his run going. The 19 year old recognizes and curls one in to him, but it’s cleared behind again for another Crew SC corner.
35’ Another ball served in to Zardes and again he puts the header well wide. Two good chances for #CrewSC but can’t get a shot on goal from either.
34’ Valenzuela’s cross finds the head of Zardes but he can’t direct anywhere near goal.
He just can't. Stop. Scoring.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) June 14, 2018
Josef jumps out of the building to take the lead! pic.twitter.com/puCMSg4Ek2
30’ Atlanta takes a 1-0 lead. Martinez is left wide open at the back post on a corner.
28’ Another Higuain free kick is well placed. This one finds the head of Jonathan, but he can direct it toward goal.
27’ Ambrose goes in late on a sliding challenge on Martinez. Foul is called and a yellow card is shown.
24’ Pipa with a pop from the top of the box. A sliding tackle deflects it over the top for another Crew SC corner. Black & Gold are collecting corners for fun rights now.
21’ Pierz plays a routine back pass to Guzan, but Higuain’s pressure makes him let it run. It goes out for a Crew SC corner.
18’ Higuain plays a free kick into the box. Lalas’ header is off Larentowicz and behind for a Crew SC corner.
12’ Pirez gets lucky. Zardes pressure him hard on a back pass and he nearly turns it over. Bounce goes Atlanta’s way and Pirez is able to clear.
8’ An early yellow card to Parkhurst for dropping Martinez.
1’ We’re underway from MAPFRE Stadium!
The Rebellion The Empire ️— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) June 13, 2018
Here are the Jedi Knights to face off against @ATLUTD's XI Storm Troopers at @MAPFREStadium on #StarWars Night. May the Force be with them ✨#CrewSC | #CLBvATL | #StarWarsNight pic.twitter.com/Nc4N30dOwE
Injuries & Suspensions:
Crew SC: For the first time in a long time, Crew SC won’t be missing anyone. There are no suspensions, call-ups, or injuries to worry about.
- Atlanta United: Defenders Greg Garza and Chris McCann are out with long term injuries. Dynamic playmaker Miguel Almiron injured his shoulder over the weekend and had to be substituted. He’s officially questionable, but is likely out.
How to watch:
Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
TV: CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2