Columbus Crew SC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Crew SC goal celebration-CLB-DC-3.24.18

Columbus Crew SC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 5
MAPFRE Stadium — Columbus
3:00 pm ET – March 31, 2018

Heading into the final games of the first month of the 2018 season, Columbus Crew SC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC currently find themselves tied atop their respective conferences with Crew SC sharing the lead in the East with NYCFC with 10 points apiece, while the Whitecaps FC and Sporting Kansas City each have seven points to top the West.

Crew SC are one of four remaining undefeated teams in MLS and look to improve to 3-0-0 at MAPFRE Stadium, while Vancouver hope to make it four consecutive wins in Columbus with a second victory away from BC Place.

Columbus Crew SC

Even without regular starters Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp, who were in Dave Sarachan’s USMNT camp, Crew SC didn’t take their foot off the gas in an impressive 3-1 win over D.C. United Saturday afternoon.

Milton Valenzuela, Ricardo Clark and Pedro Santos scored for Columbus, while Federico Higuain joined MLS’ 50-50 club with his 50th assist on Clark’s 40th-minute tally.

Cristian Martinez, who had a pair of assists, Higuain and Valenzuela were each named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 4.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Mike Grella (left knee), D - Gaston Sauro (left knee)

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

  • Notes: Crew SC enter this weekend on a 14-game unbeaten run in league play, the second-longest such streak in franchise history. They are currently five games away from the club record of 19 (July 3, 2004-April 2, 2005). … Crew SC have scored four goals from set play this season. No other team has scored more than two such goals.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC   

Yordy Reyna wasn’t able to convert a breakaway in the 39th minute in what was the best scoring chance of a defensive stalemate between the Whitecaps and a depleted LA Galaxy Saturday at BC Place.

What did ‘Caps FC coach Carl Robinson take from the match?

“A point,” he quipped in his post-match press conference.

The best news of the week for the Whitecaps came on the day before the match as central defender Kendall Waston had his red card from a March 17 match Atlanta rescinded, which means the Costa Rican international is available for Saturday’s tilt in Columbus after returning from duty with the Ticos.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

Projected Starting XI
(4-1-4-1, right to left)
GK: Stefan Marinovic — Jakob Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Aaron Maund, Marcel de Jong — Russell Teibert — Alphonso Davies, Felipe, Efrain Juarez, Yordy Reyna — Kei Kamara

  • Notes: Over Vancouver’s last seven road games, they have a record of 3W-4L. In their three wins, they have not conceded more than one goal. In their four losses, they have conceded multiple goals. … Alphonso Davies has completed 21 dribbles so far this season. Only three other players have completed more than 10, and none more than 16.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Columbus Crew SC 2 wins, 9 goals … Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4 wins, 12 goals … Ties 2
  • At Columbus: Crew SC 1 win, 3 goals … Whitecaps FC 3 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
  • Last meeting at Columbus: Columbus Crew SC 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3 (Sept. 10, 2016)


Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
VAR: Ramy Touchan