The Opposition: Columbus Crew
D.C. United will be looking to bounce back after their loss against Minnesota United when they return to Audi Field on Saturday to take on the Columbus Crew for the second time in ten days. The Black-and-Red are still looking to find a rhythm in the offense and will be hoping to be successful once again as they welcome the Crew back to Audi Field for the first time since the 2018 MLS Playoffs. Here is everything you need to know about the Crew:
The Columbus Crew are 4-5-1, sitting at the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They started off the season fairly strong, but they have lost their last four matches and failed to score in three out of four games. Most recently, they lost 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo on the road and lost to the Black-and-Red last Wednesday at MAPFRE Stadium thanks to a lone goal from Wayne Rooney.
Players to Watch
Despite the Crew’s attack being a little out of shape, it is filled with talented players who can strike at any moment. Gyasi Zardes is the team’s lead striker, with three goals so far this season. The 27-year-old from Los Angeles has become a staple of the U.S. Men’s National Team attack, and with 19 goals under his belt for the Crew last season, he’s definitely still a threat to keep an eye on. Aside from Zardes, Pedro Santos has also had a decent start to the year with two goals and two assists.
On the defensive end, the Crew have one of the best goalkeepers in MLS: Zack Steffen. Steffen has four shutouts on the year, and regardless of the result, the Crew defense tends to keep the scoreline low. When D.C. United was there on April 24th, the only goal they could get past Columbus was a Wayne Rooney free kick.
D.C. United played the Columbus Crew on April 24th at MAPFRE Stadium. The lone goal of the game came in the 27th minute, when Wayne Rooney sent a powerful low kick into the bottom corner of the net. It was a pretty even match, with the two teams getting a similar number of total shots and saves. The Rooney free kick was the difference maker in that match.
In October, the Columbus Crew traveled to Audi Field for the first time to face the Black-and-Red in the postseason. It was an intense match, which finished 1-1 at the 90-minute mark and 2-2 at the 120th-minute mark. With the teams still tied after playing both regular and extra time, the match went to penalties, where the Crew ultimately won 3-2.