MLS is now officially back for Columbus Crew SC. A late East Coast kickoff to begin the MLS is Back Tournament for the Black & Gold became even later when lightning delayed the New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United match that preceded the fourth installment of the Hell is Real rivalry against FC Cincinnati on Saturday. The lightning stuck around, but stayed on the field, as the Crew dismantled Cincinnati through a world class free kick goal by Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes doubling the lead within four minutes. In the second half, Zardes added to his tally and Youness Mokhtar joined the fun with a curling goal to add even more time to Cincinnati’s film review this week.
Massive Report asked you to tell Caleb Porter who you wanted to start against Cincinnati and who you chose only differed from the initial team sheet in two spots. Below is the Supporter’s XI and the percentage of you that chose each player.
Milton Valenzuela and Pedro Santos were the two players left off the Porter starting 11, with both absences leading to supporter questions since there’s no formal injury report during the MLS is Back Tournament. They were linked to some minor injuries during training sessions leading up to the first match of the competition.
The usual debate between choosing Youness Mokhtar and Luis Diaz took a one-match break with both starting on either side of Zelarayan, and the seemingly positionless Hector Jiminez took Valenzuela’s place as a starting fullback. Early in the match, Vito Wormgoor suffered an ankle injury, and no official report on how long he may be out was available at the time of this article’s publishing. Aboubacar Keita came on in the 17th minute and, alongside Jonathan Mensah, helped keep a clean sheet.
This Thursday, the Crew plays the Red Bulls to keep its top spot in Group E, currently in the lead by goal differential. Once again, you get the chance to choose the starting lineup with a few questions to consider:
Do the Crew rotate players to avoid injuries after a long layoff due to the coronavirus? Does the padded goal differential give the club more of an opportunity to rest players? With a potential injury concern with Wormgoor, does Porter give Josh Williams or Axel Sjoberg substantial minutes?
Choose your starting 1 below and we’ll share your team, alongside a staff chosen starting 11, in the days leading up to the Thursday matchup between MLS original city clubs.