Sunday afternoon’s visit by the Philadelphia Union played out as advertised. A contest between two teams that have shined at points in the season. Philadelphia came into MAPFRE Stadium as the current top team in the league and was one win away from clinching the Supporters’ Shield. Although Columbus was no longer at its desired level of performance like during Phase 1 and early through this current Phase 2 of matches, the Black & Gold showed glimpses of that side.
Being healthy was one big piece of the winning formula. The Crew won 2-1 in a match where the team had all starting players available, minus Vito Wormgoor whose ankle injury has kept him out since the first match of the MLS is Back Tournament, back in July. Oddly enough, it was the last visit from the Union where Columbus last saw Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayán in the starting 11.
There isn’t much time to celebrate a victory of this magnitude with the Crew traveling to Orlando City for a Wednesday evening match. The two sides are nearly even in the standings, both have 38 points, a 1.81 points per game average and a goal differential of plus-15.
One glaring area in the Crew’s statistics is that the team has not won a single road match, outside of the MLS is Back Tournament; losing four and drawing five. The Crew will look to repeat those Orlando wins, but at Exploria Stadium instead of Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
Orlando has had a strong October, with two wins, three draws and only one loss. The Lions’ November started with an away victory against the Montreal Impact, on Sunday night.
We want you to pick who should start. Do you see Nagbe and Zelarayan starting again on the road and three days after they went a full 90 minutes? With Josh Williams’ suspension over, does he make a return? Does Derrick Etienne Jr. return to a winger position or does Caleb Porter put Luis Diaz, Youness Mokhtar or Emmanuel Boateng in that role?
Let us know and we’ll share your picks, along with picks from a Massive Report contributor, in the next installment of the Supporters’ XI.