Home sweet home! For the first time since March 1, Columbus Crew SC will play a game at MAPFRE Stadium. The MLS regular season resumption continues today with the Black & Gold’s first game since the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
Columbus will host the Chicago Fire in front of an empty stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET in one of three MLS games this Thursday. The Crew enter today’s match as the top team in the Eastern conference standings with the best defense in the league. Columbus won all three group stage games at MLS is Back before being eliminated on penalty kicks by Minnesota United FC in the Round of 16.
Chicago is in 12th place with just four points. The Fire’s only win in 2020 was at MLS is Back against the Seattle Sounders in the group stage. Chicago then lost its remaining group matches to the San Jose Earthquakes and the Vancouver Whitecaps to be eliminated from the tournament.
See the Crew’s full schedule till Sept. 12. With the MLS playing back at home markets, here are some things to consider. Black & Gold players and coaches are feeling comfortable about returning to play. Information on the Crew’s three new signings: Emmanuel Boateng, Grant Lillard and Fatai Alashe.
Guillerhme Torres tells us what to expect from the new additions. Ben Ferree goes through the best bets of the first full weekend of MLS home market action. Pat Murphy crossed the touchline with Hot Time in Old Town’s Patrick McCraney for Chicago Fire insight and looked at the Black & Gold finally getting back to normal this year. Nick Hudak gives the scouting report on Chicago. Patrick Guldan looked at the history of this MLS rivalry. Thomas Costello gives you the predicted Crew lineup.
Crew (4-2-3-1): Andrew Tarbell, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Milton Valenzuela, Artur, Darlington Nagbe, Luis Diaz, Pedro Santos, Derrick Etienne Jr, Gyasi Zardes
Fire (3-5-2): Bobby Shuttleworth, Boris Sekulic, Mauricio Pineda, Francisco Calvo, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Djordje Mihailovic, Gaston Gimenez, Alvaro Medran, Miguel Navarro, Ignacio Aliseda, Robert Beric
Injuries and suspensions:
Crew: Defender Vito Womgoor is OUT with an ankle injury. Goalkeeper Eloy Room is QUESTIONABLE with a hamstring injury, as is Youness Mohktar.
Fire: Midfielder Luka Stojanovic is OUT after having MCL surgery on July 23. Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm is OUT after having right knee surgery on Aug 11.
How to watch:
Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
TV: FOX Sports Ohio, WGN-TV
Radio: English: 97.1 The Fan - Spanish: Columbus Crew YouTube
Streaming: ESPN+, DAZN App
1. Columbus Crew (5 GP, 13 pts)
2. Toronto FC (6 GP, 12 pts)
3. Orlando City (5 GP, 8 pts)
12. Chicago Fire (5 GP, 4 pts)
13. New York City FC (5 GP, 3 pts)
14. Inter Miami CF (5 GP, 0 pts)
Around the league:
The MLS regular season resumption began on Aug. 12 with Nashville SC’s 1-0 win at FC Dallas in front of 3,000 fans. Tuesday was the first all-Canadian game with Toronto FC defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 at BMO Field.
Today, we have a New York Derby match at Red Bull Arena at 7 p.m. ET along with the New England Revolution’s return to Gillette Stadium against the Philadelphia Union.
FC Cincinnati hosts D.C. United at Nippert Stadium as one of four games throughout Friday evening. Four more matches will take place on Saturday.
Last five matches:
August 31, 2019: Columbus Crew 1, Chicago Fire 1 (MAPFRE Stadium)
July 17, 2019: Chicago Fire 2, Columbus Crew 2 (Toyota Park)
August 23, 2018: Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 1 (Toyota Park)
June 6, 2018 (US Open Cup): Columbus Crew win on penalties (MAPFRE Stadium)
May 12, 2018: Columbus Crew 3, Chicago Fire 0 (MAPFRE Stadium)