Four days removed from the victory against the Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew SC returns home tonight, continuing the still new, but entertaining, Hell is Real Derby. FC Cincinnati will play in front of human fans at MAPFRE Stadium.
We asked you human fans to choose the lineup that you’d prefer Caleb Porter to choose. There’s one word to describe your choices, confidence.
Here is your Supporters’ XI:
There are no surprises in this lineup. It is also the first week where multiple players have received 100 percent of your confidence. Eloy Room, Jonathan Mensah and Darlington Nagbe were chosen by everyone that submitted their picks, over 350 of them. That is no coincidence, as Room has shown no lapse in form since returning and Nagbe and Mensah are at the top of their positions across the league. That doesn’t come as a shock, considering the Crew has only given up two goals on the season.
The only change you had from the Union matchup was Derrick Etienne Jr. starting in that third offensive midfield role. Youness Mokhtar’s performance last weekend against FC Cincinnati was one where he was finding his legs again in his first return match from injury. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet Wednesday, his presence was known on the pitch and his performance gave glimpses of his MLS is Back Tournament form. It’s hard to fault this lineup.
It’s so hard to fault it that I didn’t. It would not surprise me to see Porter start his A-team again tonight. With now almost a full week off, from match play, getting the offense into a place of continuity and flow may be more important for the long run than giving players a night off.
Tonight’s match will be an offensive test. FC Cincinnati is ready to sit back and absorb all the pressure that Columbus sends their way. If the Crew can get on the scoresheet early and open the game up, it could do wonders for the club and send a message to the league that the team is strong enough to move through any bus that’s placed in front of them.
In terms of goals, the Black & Gold have 13 on the season, giving them the fourth-best total in the Eastern Conference. League-wide, there are nine teams in front of the Crew in terms of goals scored. While those totals aren’t groundbreaking compared to Sporting Kansas City’s 20 and Toronto FC’s 16 goals scored, Columbus’ goal differential is a staggering + 11. Toronto, the second-place team in the East and Supporters’ Shield table, holds on to a +5.
Tonight should be an interesting match between the two Buckeye State teams. Tune in and find out how it goes, then come back next week to fill out the next Supporters’ XI when Columbus travels to Soldier Field, in a return leg against the Chicago Fire.