After a disappointing showing against Toronto FC, Columbus Crew SC looks to rebound against a middle-of-the-road FC Dallas side on Saturday night. With almost an entire week off, head coach Caleb Porter can field a strong side in a trip to Texas. But with Darlington Nagbe still a week or two away from returning to action, some rotation will be necessary.
As we have for each game this season, Massive Report asked fans to name their starting 11. Here are your results for the game against Dallas:
For the first time, there was more than one consensus decision. Goalkeeper Eloy Room, captain Jonathan Mensah, winger Pedro Santos and forward Gyasi Zardes all received 100 percent of the votes. Not far behind were full backs Milton Valenzuela and Harrison Afful, who each received 99 percent of the vote, as well as Artur and Lucas Zelarayan in the midfield. The main cast of this Crew team is definitely consistent.
The biggest point of contention is at the outside midfield positions. While Luis Diaz did receive an overwhelming majority, he shared some votes with Derrick Etienne Jr. Obviously, where Santos plays is influenced by what other wingers are put out on the pitch.
This starting 11 is probably as close to what might be considered a first team for the Crew, with the exception of Nagbe. Sebastian Berhalter was a suitable substitute for Nagbe last week and gets the selection this week. In a normal season, this team would probably see the vast majority of playing time if Porter didn’t have to navigate a condensed schedule.
In the Massive Report Predicted XI, there are very few changes:
In place of Diaz, Youness Mokhtar gets the start on the left side of the midfield. Santos moves over to the right side. This slight adjustment puts a slightly more experienced Mokhtar out in hopes to help contain the Dallas attack. Diaz has been serviceable on the defensive side of the field, but without Nagbe helping maintain possession, Mohktar can help link play between the defense and the attack.
Regardless of who Porter chooses to put out against Dallas, the team will need to maintain more consistent possession and build up more reliable attacking presence.