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Columbus Crew SC vs. Minnesota United FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Columbus Crew SC vs. Minnesota United FC
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 35

MAPFRE Stadium — Columbus
October 28 — 4:30 pm ET

Once considered a comfortable choice for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoffs, Columbus Crew SC are perilously close to being knocked out of contention. A Decision Day presented by AT&T win over Minnesota United FC, though, would do the trick and book Crew SC’s spot.

Columbus have lost two straight games in three matches without a win, however, including a shocking 2-1 defeat at Orlando City SC Sunday, while the Loons would love to play spoiler and snap a three-game losing streak with a season-ending win.

This is the second all-time meeting, with Crew SC winning at TCF Bank Stadium, 1-0, on July 4, 2017. Kekuta Manneh scored the lone goal for Columbus in the 58th minute.

Columbus Crew SC

Columbus (13-11-9) scored for the first time in three games, but the Lions roared back for a pair of second-half goals for a 2-1 home win Sunday.

Federico Higuain scored his sixth goal of the season to give Columbus the lead in the 54th minute, but Yoshi Yotun leveled three minutes later from the penalty spot and Sacha Kljestan netted the winner in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time.

“I think we were subjected to a difficult environment and a lot of pressure,” Gregg Berhalter said. “I think this game will set us up nicely for next week, in terms of the intensity needed to compete in games like this.”

  • Suspended: D - Jonathan Mensah
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

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

  • Notes: Since the start of August, Zack Steffen has a save percentage of 54.2 percent against shots from inside the box, the third-worst rate among keepers that have played at least 10 games. … Columbus have won 34 points in MLS home games in 2018, going 10W-2L-4D. It is currently the third-most home points for the Crew in a season since 2010.

Minnesota United FC

A record crowd of 52,242 at TCF Bank Stadium watched Minnesota (11-19-3) fall to the LA Galaxy, 3-1, in the home finale Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the Galaxy in front on the half-hour mark. Ola Kamara doubled the advantage in the 50th minute and Romain Alessandrini put the game away a minute later. Angelo Rodriguez pulled the Loons a goal back in the 54th minute.

"I think we have moments in games – we have lapses in games – that cost us dearly. You know, we make a mistake for the second goal, then we go and make another one two seconds later. Now the game is over,” Loons manager Adrian Heath said. “Up until then, the game was very much alive for us. We started well. I thought the first two or three better chances were for us. I thought our marking in the box was poor for Zlatan’s first goal. And two poor mistakes from us after that. I can’t fault the effort to the guys to get back in it when we did. But, it’s the mistakes that we make that prove costly for us. It’s something that we have to irradiate because it costs us dearly in most games."

  • Suspended: M - Alexi Gomez, M - Harrison Heath
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction), M - Kevin Molino (torn left ACL), M - Ethan Finlay (torn ACL), GK - Bobby Shuttleworth (back injury); QUESTIONABLE: F - Romario Ibarra (hamstring injury), F - Abu Danladi (right leg injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Matt Lampson — Eric Miller, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo — Fernando Bob, Maximiano — Miguel Ibarra, Darwin Quintero, Rasmus Schuller — Angelo Rodriguez

  • Notes: Minnesota’s Darwin Quintero has eight goals+assists on the road this season, four more than any other teammate. … Minnesota have just five points away from home this year (1W-13L-2D). Only five teams in league history have gone a full season with fewer.

All-Time Series

  • There has been one all-time meeting between Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United, with Crew SC winning 1-0 at TCF Bank Stadium on July 4, 2017.


Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Jose Da Silva
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Jon Freemon