ExLink - 03/10/18 - CLBvsMTL

Columbus Crew SC vs. Montreal Impact | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Columbus Crew SC vs. Montreal Impact
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 2
MAPFRE Stadium - Columbus
1 pm ET – March 10, 2018

Columbus Crew SC made one of the biggest statements in Week 1 by going to BMO Field and defeating the defending MLS Cup champions, handing Toronto FC a 2-0 loss. It was a masterful performance by a team some were sleeping on entering the 2018 campaign, as Crew SC won their season opener for the first time since 2014.

Montreal Impact, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps that spoiled the MLS coaching debut of Remi Garde. History isn't on the side of the Impact, who dropped both games a year ago and haven’t beaten Crew SC since a 2-0 win in Montreal on April 9, 2016.

Columbus Crew SC

All the talk heading into Week 1 was about Toronto and their star-studded lineup following a historic treble-winning 2017, while there seemed to be more questions than answers about a Crew SC team that lost to TFC in the Eastern Conference Championship series a year ago.

While some of the preseason talk surrounded who was no longer with the Crew (Ola Kamara, Justin Meram), Federico Higuain reminded everyone he was still very much here with a virtuoso performance in a 2-0 win. The Argentine veteran put his team in front just before halftime with his 49th career goal, while Gyasi Zardes netted his first in a Crew SC uniform one minute into the second half after just two goals a year ago for LA Galaxy.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Mike Grella (left knee), D - Gaston Sauro (left knee); QUESTIONABLE: D - Josh Williams (right foot)

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

Montreal Impact

It wasn’t the start Remi Garde hoped for, as the Impact conceded twice in a seven-minute span before Matteo Mancosu struck late in a 2-1 loss at Vancouver Sunday. The goal by Mancosu, who struggled in 2017, was a positive for the Impact, as was the performance of Jukka Raitala, who slotted next to Victor Cabrera in central defense.

Help in that department arrived from France on Monday with the signing of center back Rod Fanni, a 36-year-old from Olympique Marseille where he played two stints. Fanni replaces Zakaria Diallo, who is out for at least five months with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Zakaria Diallo (ruptured Achilles tendon), D - Kyle Fisher (tibia), F - Anthony Jackson-Hamel (hamstring)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3 right to left)

GK: Evan Bush — Michael Petrasso, Victor Cabrera, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz — Ken Krolicki, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider — Raheem Edwards, Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Crew SC 8 wins, 26 goals … Impact 5 wins, 22 goals … Ties 3
  • At Columbus: Crew SC 6 wins, 19 goals … Impact 1 win, 9 goals … Ties 2
  • Last meeting at Columbus: Columbus Crew SC 4, Montreal Impact 1 (June 24, 2017)


Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistant Referees: CJ Morgante, Brian Dunn
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Hilario Grajeda