The Columbus Crew advanced in what was a wild first-round matchup of the MLS Cup playoffs after entering the postseason as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. This guaranteed at least one home playoff match in 2020 against the New York Red Bulls.
Despite trailing in that game 1-0, the Crew fought back and earned a 3-2 win against the Red Bulls to advance to the conference semifinals. The Black & Gold goal goals from Pedro Santos (penalty kick), Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes to secure the win.
In the last two matches, Columbus head coach Caleb Porter has stuck with the same lineup, which happens to also be the lineup Massive Report readers picked for the the Supporters’ XI:
The only real question to consider for the Crew was on the wing, but Porter stuck with Derrick Etienne Jr. over Luis Diaz. His selection was rewarded with an Etienne assist on what was the game-winning goal by Gyasi Zardes in the 68th minute.
It’s worth noting that Porter only made one substitution in the victory, replacing Etienne with Diaz in the 81st minute. In a match that saw Columbus up 3-1 until the 90th minute, it ended with the Crew caught on its heels, defending a surging New York side that fought to stay in the playoffs.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when the remaining Eastern Conference playoff matches took place and found the Black & Gold found themselves with home field advantage now guaranteed throughout the East side of the MLS Cup playoff bracket. Both the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Union and the No. 2 seed Toronto FC lost their respective matches against New England Revolution and Nashville SC.
With those results, Nashville will travel to MAPFRE Stadium for a Sunday night kickoff against Columbus. Roster-wise, Massive Report wants you to pick who should get the starting nod.
Nashville is going to bring a lot of fight to MAPFRE Stadium, but it will be on tired legs. Sunday’s match will be the team’s third playoff game in nine days. Does that change who you think should start for Columbus?
Make your picks and a contributor from the Massive Report will share your picks, alongside a prediction of their own, for the next round of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Editor’s Note: The Crew had four players test positive for COVID-19 this week. The names and availability of those players were not disclosed and therefore all players are listed for selection below.