Picture Credits: Columbus Crew
It's been a rough month or so for Crew fans. Columbus is currently on a four-match losing streak, including a very disappointing loss to USL side Detroit City in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Tuesday night. Columbus is looking to right the ship when they travel to Kansas City, Kansas for a crucial MLS match Saturday night.
How To Watch
WHERE: Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas
WHEN: Saturday, April 23
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN+, Bally Sports Ohio
Last Time Out
The last game fans saw Columbus play, was the disappointing loss to USL side Detroit City Tuesday night. Though the squad featured 11 new guys from the loss against Orlando City, the Crew were still considered heavy favorites and had more quality than the Detroit City side. The Crew would eventually fall 2-1, and thus are on a four-match skid. In Major League Soccer, Columbus is on a three-match skid, including the last match, one in which Columbus lost 2-0 to Orlando City.
Sporting KC come into this game while also being in a bit of a free fall. Sporting KC is on a three-game skid of their own, and will have the home supporters behind them while they try and end their slump. But, Sporting KC is set to miss some key players, which will be talked about later. Sporting KC lost 3-1 to red-hot LAFC last weekend. Sporting KC, like the Crew, have scored goals in their last two games.
Projected Starting XI
With Lucas Zelerayan questionable, look for Alexandru Matan to slot in at the 10 if the star midfielder is not fit enough to start. Also, look for Gyasi Zardes to start in place of Miguel Berry. Zardes, who scored in the Open Cup loss, has the only goal for Columbus in the last four games.
OUT: Luis Diaz (Back), Kevin Molino (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Lucas Zelerayan (Knee)
OUT: Alan Pulido (Knee), Gadi Kinda (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Uri Rosell (Thigh), Johnny Russell (Calf)
Keys To The Match
Defend Set Pieces
I know, these are getting repetitive. But, the Crew still have not fixed this, and it is the root for most of their mistakes. Columbus has been solid defensively through the run of play, having only conceded two goals all season through it. But when it comes to goals off set pieces, that is where the Black and Gold struggle. Columbus has conceded nine goals this season, with seven of them coming off a set piece, or not too far after.
Columbus is a team that likes to posses the ball. That we know as a fact. And sometimes, that doesn't allow them to break in transition fast, and thus, allows the opponent to set up defensively. Though Lucas is doubtful, the Crew still have enough quality to get the job done, and with Pacey wingers, transition needs to look cleaner and faster.
Columbus has lead almost every game with possession this season. But, what they do with it is a different story. They tend to pass the ball one time too many times, instead of taking their chances. Columbus needs to take the chances that are provided. If they cant do that, Columbus should start finding the ball in the net.
Columbus is in the midst of a four-game skid. With that said, what an opportunity they have in facing a Sporting KC side that is also in the midst of a losing streak, and will be without their three designated players. Columbus will more than likely be WITHOUT Lucas Zelerayan, so Matan or Igbekeme will have to step up. That shouldn't be a problem, and the Crew muscle away all three points.
Columbus 1-0 Sporting KC