After a tough road trip to the West Coast where Columbus Crew SC gave up two goals early and never recovered in a 2-0 defeat to Los Angeles Football Club, the Black & Gold return home looking to recover the form from earlier in the season. It’s been two straight losses for Columbus and it feels like forever since the team’s last win.
Crew SC welcome in a Real Salt Like side that sits in fourth place in the Western Conference with 23 point. This is a relatively young team under Mike Petke, that has figured out a way to make it work through 16 games this year.
The Black & Gold will be without starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen once again in this one due to a knee injury and left back Milton Valenzuela to yellow card suspension. The team could also miss Federico Higuain, Josh Williams and Mohammed Abu, all with various minor injuries.
Will a return to MAPFRE Stadium be enough to see Crew SC get back to winning ways? Let’s see what our staff thinks.
It will be youth against youth, as RSL and Crew SC face off on Saturday. Six players for RSL are 23 years old or younger and much of the roster was with Mike Petke when he coached Real Monarchs of the USL last season. One player to watch in this match is Albert Rusnak. The midfielder has 99 chances created from open play since the start of the 2017 season, that is 13 more than his next closest competitor in that time frame.
Depsite RSL winning one of its last 12 matches on the road, I think fortune favors the visitors and they walk away with a victory on Saturday night.
Real Salt Lake 1 Columbus Crew SC 0
Columbus needs to get a win to stop this slide and Real could be just what the doctor ordered. This is a team that has struggled on the road, with just four points away from home the entire year. I’m not sold on Mike Petke as a good coach in MLS, and I think that’s what you need to win away in this league, tactics and discipline.
The issue will be if Crew SC is missing even more key pieces. We know Zack Steffen and Milton Valenzuela will be out, and that certainly hurts the defense, but this team isn’t the same offensively without Federico Higuain... and the offense is already struggling enough. I still think Columbus does enough to see this one out.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Real Salt Lake 1
Crew SC probably won’t have a better chance to end its winless streak in the coming weeks than this one as the team hosts an inconsistent Real Salt Lake side in Columbus. Even without Zack Steffen, Milton Valenzuela and perhaps Josh Williams, the Black & Gold have what it takes to pull out an important victory against the Western Conference opponents.
Despite ranking fourth in the West after three straight victories between late May and early June, RSL have been ups and down so far this year and the team heads to Ohio in the midst of a three-match winless streak. Their road record is also the second worst in the entire league, with six setbacks in eight matches.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Real Salt Lake 0
Back to back 2-0 losses were not an ideal way to end the toughest stretch of the season. Real Salt Lake has not been playing much better and are winless in three matches. The big benefit for Crew SC is RSL’s incredible -10 goal differential. When Salt Lake give up goals they give them up in bunches, and that could be just the medicine for Columbus’ anemic offense. The Black & Gold are dealing with multiple injuries, but they’ve got the depth to put a few goals past RSL this week.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Real Salt Lake 0
There you have it for this week. Do you think Crew SC get the job done this week against RSL? Let us know in the comments below.