For two hours tonight, Columbus Crew supporters have a distraction from the rebrand discussions in the form of a match of actual soccer. The Crew head to Orlando’s Exploria Stadium to play Toronto FC. Columbus’ competitive Canadian neighbors to the north play in Florida until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted to allow the team to play back in its home city.
Massive Report didn’t restrict supporters in choosing who they wanted to start against TFC. In response, you chose a consistent lineup with weeks past due to ongoing injuries within the Columbus roster.
Here is who you selected to start.
Absent are winger Kevin Molino and fullbacks Milton Valenzuela and Marlon Hairston. With those players not available, the team has a clear group of starting players with only two areas really calling for a tough decision in player selection. The first is at center back. Head coach Caleb Porter gave supporters a glimpse of Vito Wormgoor with a start against CF Montreal, but he’s since not seen a minute on the field. You selected Josh Williams over Wormgoor as It matches Porter’s decision-making, of late. Supporters did select Wormgoor, but only 13.7 percent put him in their starting 11.
At fullback, Valenzuela’s gap is filled with Waylon Francis. The MLS and Crew veteran played well against D.C. United and is a good fit in replacement. Saad Abdul-Salaam provides the only piece of fullback depth for the Crew right now.
The midfield features two locked in selections of Lucas Zelarayan and Pedro Santos. At the third wild card position is Luis Diaz. The winger almost had an assist against D.C. when the Zardes chance turned into an own goal. Winger Derrick Etienne Jr. and Diaz flip spots in this position, with one substituting for the other on match days. Etienne getting the start wouldn’t be a surprise, but Diaz has performed well of late. Rest could be the determining factor in who Porter selects with another match coming soon on Sunday.
Now let’s compare your picks with the starting 11 from Massive Report.
The Massive Report picks are the same but hesitantly so. While it’s early in the season, and teams shouldn’t be looking past any opponent in Major League Soccer, Sunday’s match against the second-place New England Revolution is a big early-season test for the Crew. Giving players like Wormgoor, Etienne or even Abdul-Salaam the start alongside playmakers like midfielder Darlington Nagbe and Zelarayan can yield good results. Then Porter takes a good Wednesday result into a match Sunday with fresh starters.
After Sunday’s match, there’s a month free of the schedule congestion, with only four matches between May 22 and June 23. So Porter could push his team to start the strongest 11 Wednesday and Sunday this week. Supporters will know Porter’s strategy soon.