The Columbus Crew travels to take on the New York Red Bulls after earning a come-from-behind draw in last week’s away match against Toronto FC. Jimmy Medranda scored a second half chipped goal that Toronto originally thought was offside, but VAR ruled the left ack onside and Columbus tied the game. The Black & Gold continued to push with forward Cucho Hernandez and midfielder Alexandru Matan both putting pressure on Sean Johnson. The Crew seemed to be the most likely team to get a winner if one was to be found.
Head coach Wilfried Nancy started the same lineup in that game as the week prior for the first time. How might the Black & Gold line up in this match?
Matan has become a fixture for Nancy after he struggled to find time under former head coach Caleb Porter. Matan continued to be dangerous for the Crew but was once again unable to get on the score sheet. Nancy will likely continue to trust the young Romanian in the attack and he should start again.
Nancy may need to reconsider his options at left wing back, as Yaw Yeboah, who is a natural right winger, has struggled in the last couple of matches. Medranda made an instant impact after being substituted on for Yeboah, scoring only a couple of minutes into his debut. Maintaining possession, better combination play and helping the midfield to win the ball back is a need the Crew has on the left side. Yeboah may be able to develop into a player Nancy can trust here, but Will Sands or Medranda will likely be chosen over Yeboah if they are fully fit.
Christian Ramirez has finally returned to training but the forward will continue to need to work on fitness after being sidelined for a number of weeks. Sands has missed some training sessions this week and is questionable for this match. Center back Josh Williams remains out with an ankle injury. Attacking midfielder Kevin Molino is a new addition to the injury report and is questionable with an ankle injury.
Nancy will continue to field the same backline of Philip Quinton, Milos Degenek,and Steven Moreira as center backs. Consistency, trust and communication are very important along the backline, and Nancy is steadily building that. Against Toronto, the backline played fairly well. While they were under pressure a couple of times, the trio organized well to protect their goal. Quinton continues to be tested by the opposition and put his body on the line to block incoming shots. The second-year pro will be under different pressure from the Red Bulls and will need to be decisive in possession. A momentary defensive lapse from the entire team led to Toronto’s goal, but aside from that, Nancy should be pleased with what he has seen from his backline.
Mohamed Farsi continues to be the first-choice right wing back, while Medranda has already shown the impact he can have on a match. Medranda should get his first start in this match.
Aidan Morris, who was on the Team of the Matchday last week for his performance against TFC, and Darlington Nagbe will continue to anchor the midfield.
Unless Nancy wants to put Luis Diaz in the attack to unbalance New York with his speed, it is unlikely Nancy will change the attacking lineup. Lucas Zelarayan will continue to play in an advanced playmaker role with Matan in support. Hernandez will continue to be a free-roaming striker against New York. Hernandez came very close to scoring against Toronto and should continue to create good opportunities in this match.