Preview: Crew vs. Municipal
CONCACAF Champions League, Match Day 5.
CSD Municipal (1-1-2, five points, third place Group B) vs. Columbus Crew (3-1-0, nine points, first place Group B) at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
All-time series: Columbus lead 2-0.
Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET, concacaf.com TV (live streaming video); Thursday, LIVE, FSC
Columbus lead the four-team group with a 3-1 record after beating
Santos Laguna 1-0 on Sept. 21 to move two points clear of the Mexican
side. Andrés Mendoza scored in the 87th minute to complete a 3-0 home
Municipal are third with five points (1-1-2), two behind Santos with two games left. In their last CCL match, los Rojos beat Joe Public of Trinidad 3-2 on Sept.
23 when Sergio Guevara broke the tie in the 90th minute.
The Crew opened group play with a 1-0 home win vs. Municipal on Aug. 18, with Emmanuel Ekpo netting the winner in the 14th minute.
The Crew can clinch a spot in the quarterfinals for the second
straight year with a draw. Their last match will be against Joe Public
(0-3-1) on Oct. 21 in Trinidad.
It behooves the Crew to qualify Wednesday because Kevin Burns, Shaun Francis, Jason Garey, Eddie Gaven, Andy Gruenebaum, Frankie Hejduk, Andy Iro and Danny O'Rourke
have a caution each and the next one in group play results in a
suspension. Most of the regulars did not make the trip to Guatemala.
“We feel like we can [win] with whoever we put on the field,” backup goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. "We take it seriously."
Former Los Angeles Galaxy attacker Pando Ramírez and former Crew player Mario Rodríguez lead the team with two goals apiece in Champions League play.
Los Rojos are coming off a 3-0 victory against Peñarol on Sunday in
league action, behind two goals by star striker Rodríguez and a late
marker from Diego Alfonso. With the victory, Municipal kept their No. 1
spot on the table.
During their match against Peñarol, Rodríguez suffered a knock to his ribs, but said he's ready to face the Crew on Wednesday.
"The doctor said I could play ... and, personally, I want to partake
in this game," said Rodríguez. "[Wednesday's] game is crucial for our
aspirations. We need to win so we can play for a [quarterfinal berth] in
the final Champions League fixture."
Heroes & Villains
Mario Rodríguez and Pando Ramírez vs. Crew back four:
The pair of onetime MLS players are active and goal-hungry. They’ll
present considerable problems for whatever combination is on the back
line in front of Gruenebaum.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
Municipal have tied in their past five Champions League home games,
including 1-1 with Joe Public and 2-2 vs. Santos in this round.