Saturday’s fixture will mark the 68th regular season meeting between United and the Crew. The clubs were both founding members of Major League Soccer, and since the1996 inaugural season have virtually split their previous 67 meetings down the middle. Columbus hold a slight advantage in the rivalry with a 29-27-11 record versus the Black-and-Red.
David Ousted recorded four stops against Columbus at MAPFRE Stadium in March—the highest number of saves he's recorded for United in a single game thus far. Another big four-save, Man of the Match performance from the Great Dane in Kansas City has United's last line of defense entering Saturday's match on a high note.
The average age of United's starting midfielders was 22 years old in the teams' last meeting. Yamil Asad (24), Luciano Acosta (23), Paul Arriola (23), Chris Durkin (18, first career MLS start), and Ian Harkes (22, first start of 2018) each earned starting nods, making up one of the youngest midfield corps United has fielded in recent years.
Veteran defender Nick DeLeon has earned 14 career starts and amassed 13,568 minutes played against Columbus throughout his MLS career. As the longest tenured player for the Black-and-Red, DeLeon has assumed a veteran presence in the locker room and on the pitch, and has matched up against the Crew more than any other United player.
The Crew have emerged as one of MLS' most high powered offenses early this season, scoring nine goals in six games, tying them for fourth best in the league. Crew forward Gyasi Zardes is tied for second in the league in goals scored with four finishes on the season thus far.