Columbus Crew SC continued its second-half firepower with an at-times nervy match against Nashville SC last weekend. In the two sides’ first-ever contest, Columbus held on with key defensive moments for a 2-0 victory. Gyasi Zardes helped open the second half with defensive pressure that led to the first goal. Nashville had its fair share of chances, but Eloy Room stopped everything that came his way and the Black & Gold were able to switch back and forth between offense and defense effectively.
Darlington Nagbe missed his second-straight match and is set to miss at least the next two games of Phase Two. What was first reported as a minor knee knock was upgraded after a scope of the midfielder’s knee in the days leading up to Saturday’s victory.
In Nagbe’s absence, Fatai Alashe played alongside Artur for this third straight start in the midfield. Center back Aboubacar Keita got his first start since a mistake led to Columbus’ only loss of the season, against New York City FC. Keita received a yellow card in the second half but played the entire 90 in place of Josh Williams. On the offensive side, Pedro Santos moved back into the No. 10 position with Youness Mokhtar and Luis Diaz playing on the wings.
One positive note on the injury front was the return of Lucas Zelarayan. He replaced Moktar in the 70th minute. On Monday, Zelarayan told the media that he feels a lot better after playing Saturday and is ready to play more minutes in the future.
The Crew doesn’t have a lot of time off, with Minnesota United traveling to MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday night. Caleb Porter will likely deal with lineup rotation, as the Black & Gold have another important match Sunday against Toronto FC.
You get to choose who you’d want to play against Minnesota in a test against a strong team from the Western Conference. With Nagbe out, who will you choose to take his place? Has Alashe’s performances warranted a permanent backup role in the midfield or do you want to see Sebastian Berhalter start? Does Keita get more minutes or will Josh Williams return to the starting lineup?
Let us know in the Supporters’ XI. A contributor of Massive Report will share your lineup on gameday, alongside who he thinks will get the starting nod.