The Columbus Crew is coming off a refreshing 3-1 win against New York City FC. Midweek team talks set the Black & Gold on the right course, and the team looked strong in attack on Sunday. Passes found their targets better and it led to nine shots on target, compared to 12 total in the past three matches where the Crew lost two and had one draw.
Hea coach Caleb Porter went with Aidan Morris in the midfield and the 18-year-old had a great performance, providing energy and grit against a physical New York City side. Fatai Alashe didn’t receive any minutes after starting the 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati.
In the winger positions, the usual Luis Diaz or Youness Mokhtar start saw Derrick Etienne Jr. return to the starting 11 and Emmanual Boateng made his second start in a row. Both Etienne and Boateng made their presence known on the field. On multiple occasions, errant passes and Columbus possession was saved by Etienne.
Aboubacar Keita started and made up for past rough performances with a strong match alongside center back partner Jonathan Mensah. Josh Williams was not available for the game and Grant Lillard was on the bench in case Black & Gold needed center back help. Fortunately, the team did not.
While Columbus secured an important three points, the team came out of the match with a couple of potential injury problems. Pedro Santos was prematurely substituted in the 65th minute with what Porter called postgame a potential “hip pointer” that he doesn’t think is too serious. In the 91st minute, Artur was taken down in the penalty box by Maxime Chanot. Gyasi Zardes’ penalty kick rebound goal put Columbus on top, but for the remaining few minutes of the match, Artur was in noticeable pain. At the time of writing this article, there are no updates from the team.
Both Santos and Artur have been the most consistent midfield starters this season, as Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan have both missed large chunks of time. On a positive note, both Nagbe and Zelarayan could return to the pitch when Columbus travels to Houston for a Saturday, 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
With a week off, potential missed time for injury and potentially a couple of key players returning to the side, there is a lot to consider for the next Supporters’ XI. We want you to decide who should start against Houston Dynamo. Make your selections and we’ll share your lineup against a prediction from a contributor of the Massive Report.