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

ExLink - 04/14/18 - DCvCLB

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew SC
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 7
Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium - Annapolis
7 pm ET – April 14, 2018

It’s a second home game and second home stadium of the season for D.C. United, who take to historic Annapolis to face Columbus Crew SC for the second time in three weeks. Ben Olsen’s squad is still seeking a first victory of the season and are trying to bounce back from consecutive losses, including that 3-1 defeat in Columbus.

After three wins in their first four games, Crew SC have also suffered consecutive losses, falling to Chicago Fire, 1-0, last week.

D.C. United  

Olsen doesn’t want to call it a “must-win,” certainly not in April. But there is an urgency to win after D.C. United (0-3-2) failed to do so in their first five games and with their next eight outside of the DMV area.

“I wouldn’t classify anything as a must-win unless you’re in a situation down the stretch where you have to win to get into the playoffs or it’s a playoff game,” Olsen said. “I think it’s a silly term. However, do we want to win this game? Of course. We understand that we need a win.”

And earning a measure of revenge against an Eastern Conference foe, who already defeated D.C. this year, is big.

“We know them fairly well, and that loss still burns a bit because I thought we actually played pretty well and we felt like we were a little hard done,” Olsen said. “So hopefully that still stings for some of the players and we can fix that this weekend by getting another bite at them.”

There’s been some big off-field news, too, with word of a reported ownership change and possible interest in enigmatic Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: M - Russell Canouse (knee), D - Taylor Kemp (groin), M - Junior Moreno (hamstring), F - Bruno Miranda (knee)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2–3-1, right to left)
GK: David Ousted — Nick DeLeon, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora — Ulises Segura, Russell Canouse — Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad — Darren Mattocks

  • Notes: United earned a 4-0 win over San Jose on Sept. 23, 2017. They have gone winless in MLS play since then (6L-3D), conceding multiple goals in seven of the nine matches. … D.C. United has conceded 2.5 more goals than their expected goals against (7.5), the largest differential in MLS.

Columbus Crew SC      

In the 3-1 win over D.C. United at MAPFRE Stadium, Federico Higuain joined the MLS 50-50 club with his 50th career assist and Milton Valenzuela, Ricardo Clark and Pedro Santos scored one goal apiece — all in the first half.

At the time the win, coupled with NYCFC’s2-2 draw in New England, moved Crew SC atop the Eastern Conference standings. Since, though, Gregg Berhalter’s team has dropped two straight and are now fourth in the East.

Although they were on the wrong side of the scoreline, Berhalter liked what he saw from his squad in Chicago last week.

“I don’t think confidence is an issue,” Berhalter said. “We’re obviously disappointed with the results, but the team is fairly confident. We walked away from that game and heads weren’t down, which I think is a good thing.”

The same desperation Berhalter saw from Chicago, he expects from D.C.

“i think they’re a good team, they’ve been unlucky in some games,” he said. “But for us it’s focusing on what we do and still trying to circulate the ball to disorganize opponents and create goal-scoring opportunities.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Mike Grella (left knee), D - Gaston Sauro (left knee), M - Eduardo Sosa (right ankle), Ben Lundgaard (left thumb surgery), M - Luis Argudo (left knee surgery), M - Ricardo Clark (illness)

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

  • Notes: Columbus enters this week looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak in MLS play since May 4-10, 2014 (132 league games played since then) … Last weekend marked the fourth time since 2010 that the Crew put up 20+ shots in a match and failed to score once, and the first time since Sept. 1, 2013.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: D.C. United 27 wins, 89 goals … Columbus Crew SC 28 wins, 97 goals … Ties 11
  • At D.C.: D.C. United 20 wins, 63 goals … Crew SC 10 wins, 45 goals … Ties 4
  • Last meeting at D.C.: D.C. United 0, Columbus Crew SC 2 (March 18, 2017)


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, TJ Zablocki
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Luis Guardia