Columbus Crew vs Vancouver Whitecaps Preview: 2022 Season Opener


Photo Credits: Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew)


How To Watch: Bally Sports Ohio, ESPN+

Where: Lower.com Field, Columbus Ohio

Kick-Off: 3:30 p.m.


The day is finally here! The start of the 2022 MLS season is officially here, and Columbus will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 season. Columbus will look to get off to a good start when they welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to Lower.com Field Saturday afternoon.


Injury Report

Columbus:

OUT: Kevin Molino (R Knee), Jake Morris (R Foot), Josh Williams (L Thigh)

Questionable: NONE


Vancouver:

OUT: Caio Alexandre

Questionable: Brian White


Projected Starting XI



What To Expect

Columbus heads into the 2022 season opener with big expectations this season, the first of which is to get back to the playoffs. Crew head coach Caleb Porter has had success getting back to the playoffs following a season where his team failed to make them. Columbus returns practically their entire team apart from a couple of signings. The biggest thing for the Crew this season is to stay healthy.


Picture Credits: Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew)


Keys To The Match

Solid Defensively

This one is kind of obvious. The Crew did not hold up to their 2020 defensive form, and that was perhaps their biggest downfall last season. How does Jonathon Mensah fair with new center back partner Milos Degenek? How will Pedro Santos fair with being the permanent left-back? All of these questions should be answered Saturday afternoon.


Put The Ball In The Back Of The Net Early

This one is pretty self explanatory. In order to wins matches, you have to score more goals then the other team. Last season, the Crew struggled to get going early in games. That is a must this season so that they do not have to chase the match.


Get The Crowd Involved

Columbus has one of the best and most passionate fanbases in all of Major League Soccer. They have to use the crowd, and feed of them. Crew fans have been waiting for the 2022 MLS season, and it will be on full display Saturday afternoon.


Prediction

Heading into the season, many expect Columbus to be in the playoffs. If they want to get back to the top, they must start the season on the front foot. Vancouver will not be an easy match, especially since the Crew have not beaten the Whitecaps since 2012. I do think that Columbus' fortunes turn Saturday afternoon, with the Crew winning 2-1.