September soccer is here and the Columbus Crew begin the ninth month of the year in Florida to take on Orlando City SC. The two sides haven’t played since November of 2020 when the Lions beat the Crew 2-1. The weather forecast for the Saturday evening kick off is for high humidity with hot temperatures, but fingers crossed Orlando has no lightning.
The Black & Gold are fresh off a dramatic 3-2 win against FC Cincinnati last Friday to snap a six-game losing streak. While the health of multiple players continues to improve, the Crew takes a small step back in availability with center back Jonathan Mensah and midfielder Liam Fraser gone on international duty. Twelve games are left for Columbus and head coach Caleb Porter and his players know each one is crucial towards a playoff berth.
Orlando City has consistently avoided losing matches in 2021 suffering just four defeats in this MLS season. However, the Lions have also dealt with injury issues and currently have drawn four of their last five league games. Strikers Chris Mueller and Daryl Dike will hope to return to goalscoring form in the midst of Orlando’s push to get home-field advantage for at least one postseason match.
Injuries and Suspensions:
Crew: Artur (right hip), Aidan Morris (left knee), Milton Valenzuela (right thigh), Perry Kitchen (left knee), Kevin Molino (right knee), Liam Fraser (international duty), Jonathan Mensah (international duty), Marlon Hairston (left thigh), and Gyasi Zardes (left thigh) are OUT. Josh Williams (left ankle) is QUESTIONABLE.
Orlando City: Alexandre Pato (lower body), Pedro Gallese (international duty), and Sebastian Mendez (international duty) are OUT. Mauricio Pereyra (lower body), Andres Perea (lower body), and Uri Rosell (lower body) are QUESTIONABLE.
How to watch:
Date: Saturday, Sep. 4, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Exploria Stadium - Orlando, Florida
TV: Bally Sports Ohio
Radio: English: 97.1 The Fan - Spanish: Columbus Crew YouTube
Streaming: ESPN+ (out of market)
1. New England Revolution (23 GP, 49 PTS)
2. Nashville SC (22 GP, 38 PTS)
3. Orlando City (21 GP, 35 PTS)
7. D.C. United (22 GP, 30 PTS)
8. Columbus Crew (22 GP, 27 PTS)
9. Atlanta United (22 GP, 27 PTS)
Around the league:
It’s a relatively quiet week in Major League Soccer for Labor Day weekend. Plenty of players are off on international duty for FIFA World Cup qualifiers so the league has just five matches taking place on Saturday.
These games include the Vancouver Whitecaps welcoming Austin FC, close by Real Salt Lake facing FC Dallas, another Ohio vs. Florida match where FC Cincinnati hosts Inter Miami and a late-night game in California with the San Jose Earthquakes taking on the Colorado Rapids.
Last five matches:
November 4, 2020: Orlando City 2, Columbus Crew 1 (Exploria Stadium)
July 13, 2019: Orlando City 1, Columbus Crew 0 (Exploria Stadium)
June 29, 2019: Columbus Crew 0, Orlando City 2 (Historic Crew Stadium)
October 21, 2018: Orlando City 2, Columbus Crew 1 (Exploria Stadium)
July 21, 2018: Columbus Crew 3, Orlando City 2 (Historic Crew Stadium)