Columbus Crew SC vs. Atlanta United | 2018 MLS Match Preview

ExLink - 06/13/18 - CLBvATL

Columbus Crew SC vs. Atlanta United
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 16

MAPFRE Stadium — Columbus
June 13 - 7:30 pm ET

It’s another Eastern Conference top-of-the-table clash with first-place Atlanta United heading to MAPFRE Stadium to meet a Columbus Crew SC side that is three points off the lead.

Both teams come into the game off high-profile draws on Saturday with the Five Stripes fortunate to come out of Yankee Stadium level with NYCFC, 1-1, while Crew SC settled for a 1-1 home draw with the New York Red Bulls.

Atlanta won their two regular season meetings against Crew SC in 2017, outscoring them 5-1 in the process. However, the Crew beat Atlanta in the 2017 playoffs in a shootout win at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Columbus Crew SC

It’s now nine games without a loss for Columbus (7-3-6), but it’s three consecutive draws as Crew SC played the Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw.

If not for Luis Robles’ heroics, Crew SC should have had more than just a Gyasi Zardes goal, his 10th of the season in the 26th minute, from a dominant opening 45 minutes.

The Red Bulls rallied after halftime and earned an Alex Muyl equalizer in the 57th minute.

“I think that normally you have to score the second goal in this game,” Gregg Berhalter said. “We let them back into it. Give them credit for adjusting at halftime, [for] coming out very aggressive in the second half. I don’t think we matched that intensity in the beginning of the second half.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Milton Valenzuela
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: D - Jonathan Mensah (left thigh injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Zack Steffen — Harrison Afful, Josh Williams, Lalas Abubakar, Milton Valenzuela — Wil Trapp, Artur — Cristian Martinez, Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos — Gyasi Zardes

  • Notes: Zardes is one of three players this season with at least 20 shots on target from inside the box with 20 in 16 games. He has never had more than 27 in a season … Columbus are unbeaten in their last nine league matches, conceding a grand total of seven goals in that time. Additionally, they have won 11 of their last 16 home games in MLS play (1L-4D).

Atlanta United

Brad Guzan stood on his head, making nine saves to help Atlanta (9-3-3) earn a 1-1 draw with NYCFC, becoming the first team this season to take a point from Yankee Stadium.

After an entertaining, but scoreless, first half, the Five Stripes jumped in front in the 48th minute on Josef Martinez’s league-leading 13th goal of the season. From there, though, NYCFC went on the offensive and outshot Atlanta, 25-5, leveling on an Alex Callens back-post header in the 77th minute and hitting three posts.

“Tough and unfair, I think it’s probably the first point we’ve taken without deserving it,” Tata Martino said. “New York was the better team in the second half. Up until Josef’s goal, the game was fairly even. But after that New York was the better team.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: F - Romario Williams, D - Chris McCann, M - Miguel Almiron, M - Jeff Larentowicz
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Greg Garza (shoulder surgery), D - Chris McCann (left lower extremity injury); QUESTIONABLE: F - Hector Villalba (right knee injury), M - Miguel Almiron (shoulder injury)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-1-2, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez — Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Jeff Larentowicz, Mikey Ambrose — Ezequiel Barco — Josef Martinez, Romario Williams

  • Notes: Martinez averages 1.01 xG per 90 this season. No other player averages more than 0.81 (min. 5 goals). … The Five Stripes are unbeaten in their last five road games (4W-1D), outscoring opponents 8-3 in those matches.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Columbus Crew SC 0 wins, 1 goal … Atlanta United 2 wins, 5 goals … 0 draws
  • At Columbus: Crew SC 0 wins, 0 goals … Atlanta United 1 win, 2 goals … 0 draws
  • Last meeting at Columbus: Columbus Crew SC 0, Atlanta United 2 (July 1, 2017)


Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, TJ Zablocki
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
VAR: Baldomero Toledo