Columbus Crew SC heads to the Pacific Northwest to play the first of only two road trips to states on the West Coast, facing off against the Seattle Sounders. Both clubs are coming off wins in their regular season debuts, and on paper it looks like a strong matchup between the defending MLS Cup Champions and a Columbus side that has a high ceiling.
In our first installment of our Crew lineup prediction, we will share the Supporter XI, voted on by you: the supporters. We will also share our prediction for the first away match of the season.
There are no changes to the Supporter XI from Week 1, but there are the makings of some interesting trends.
The first Supporter XI matched head coach Caleb Porter’s starting lineup, outside of Youness Mohktar getting the start on the wing over Costa Rican speedster, Diaz. You chose Diaz again this week, but with six percent less of the vote. Mohktar lost two percent of the vote too, with Chris Cadden and Derrick Etienne Jr. inheriting those lost percentage points. The largest jump for any player on the roster belonged to Fanendo Adi. Last week, all but one of you voted for Gyasi Zardes, and this week Adi received 6.6 percent of the votes for team striker.
Vito Wormgoor made the vote for your starting lineup, but since the voting opened he was ruled doubtful for the Seattle match. If he was healthy, there is no doubt that you would have given him the same strong support as he received last week as he dropped from 95 percent to 81 percent, as both he and Jonathan Mensah showed little signs of needing to adjust to one another in week 1.
Massive Report XI
Choosing the starting lineup for the Crew landed on what Porter put on the pitch in Week 1, with one exception.
The big IF with the lineup is on the wing. Diaz came on in the second half of Week 1 and showed why he is so dangerous. He had pace, fought well for possession and probably should have been on the scoresheet after his unfortunate “shot” grabbed league attention for the wrong reasons.
Mohktar and Diaz bring different things to this club and Diaz’s attacking presence, at its peak, can bring this offense to places supporters are excited to see,. But Porter has seen more consistent play in Mohktar. Going back to the final match of preseason, Mohktar has gotten important minutes and Porter does not have any need to change that this early in the season.
Diaz will likely see minutes in the match, especially in situations where the offense is struggling to score. Bringing him on the field later in the match, when legs are tired, brings another element that requires additional opponent preparation.
Wormgoor’s questionable status prompts the only change, with an ankle and rib injury listing him as doubtful for his first cross-country away trip. Josh Williams is the logical next choice to start with the Crew heading to a strong opponent in the Sounders. Williams and Mensah have experience playing with one another, with both spending the past few seasons with Columbus. Unless Aboubacar Keita has shown something to Porter in practice, expect to see a center back pairing that is full of MLS experience.
Check back next week to make your picks for the starting lineup against Real Salt Lake.