Coming into Wednesday’s match against Minnesota United, Columbus Crew SC supporters did something that hasn’t been done yet this season: you collectively chose the correct starting lineup in all 11 positions. That lineup secured a 2-1 victory for Columbus in a match against the then fourth-place team in the Western Conference. But it wasn’t without drama.
With Darlington Nagbe out injured, you picked Fatai Alashe to start his fourth straight match in the midfield. His time on the field didn’t last long, as an injury saw Sebastian Berhalter take his place in the 19th minute. Up front, in the carousel of wingers that get starting minutes, Luis Diaz got the nod, alongside Pedro Santos and Lucas Zelarayan, two offensive weapons whose performance earned them a place in the MLS Team of the Week.
Columbus scored a rare first half goal, only the team’s second in the opening 45 minutes of a game since returning from the MLS is Back Tournament, with Santos delivering a cross between defenders to a diving Zelarayan. It was Zelarayan’s first headed goal in his Crew career. In the second half, Zelaryan returned the favor with an assist to Santos, who scored a goal from a tight angle to give the Black & Gold the 2-0 lead.
It appeared to be a match leading to three points, but Minnesota scored in the 88th minute. Only a few minutes later, the Loons appeared to score another goal, because Columbus was saved with an offside flag in a close play.
Depth allowed the Crew to smoothly transition Berhalter into the match, depth that supporters haven’t seen in the short Porter era. That list of players will be stretched with another match this Sunday against Toronto FC.
The Black & Gold will travel to Toronto’s makeshift home at the University of Connecticut. But who will make the trip? More importantly, who will make the start? That’s for you to decide.
Does the Alashe injury leave him out for another match? Did Diaz’s performance earn him more starting minutes? With travel taking place on the day of the match, and after only three days off, do tired legs get a rest?
Make your choices with our next Supporters’ XI. This weekend, your choices will be revealed next to the lineup from a Massive Report contributor.