It’s safe to say this is no ordinary matchup, and if recent history is any inclination of what’s to come, consider MAPFRE Stadium the next stop for one of the most heated rivalries in Major League Soccer.
In a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals, and the second clash this regular season, Columbus Crew SC (4-6-5) will host the New England Revolution (6-4-6) on Wednesday.
Both teams will face off in Columbus with something to prove. For the Revs, it’s an opportunity to improve upon a subpar road record (2-5-1). For Crew SC, it’s a chance to defend its fortress and build upon a strong record at home, as the Black & Gold are unbeaten in 12 of their last 14 regular-season home matches.
Both teams met earlier this season on April 11 when Crew SC completed a 6,000-mile road trip with a hard-earned point at Gillette Stadium. Although the scoreboard remained the same from the first minute through the 90th, the match was an intense one with each team receiving three cautions.
Words were exchanged, shoves were thrust and fingers were wagged as emotions came to a boiling point midway through the second half. Overall, both teams saw their fair share of opportunities. The Black & Gold held the advantage in possession (57.1 percent) and shots (8), while both squads came out presumably sore having recorded 15 fouls each on the day.
“We expect that in these games because it’s two teams that want to be top teams in this conference," Sporting Director & Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said after the match. "We’re not going to give an inch, they’re not going to give an inch and you lead to games like that. You lead to chippy games. I think there’s nothing wrong with that, the guys are competing, as long as they don’t cross the line.”
This Wednesday, things won’t come easy for the visiting Revs. Crew SC has had more than considerable success against New England at home, totaling more than twice as many wins than losses. With six draws, the Black & Gold have lost to New England only eight times in 31 matches in Columbus – for a 17-8-6 record at MAPFRE Stadium. New England hasn’t come out of MAPFRE Stadium with a regular season victory since Oct. 27, 2013.
With Crew SC on a bye week, some much-needed rest will help fuel the fire against a New England team that is in the midst of a tough stretch, playing four matches in 10 days. Before heading to Columbus, the Revolution will visit D.C. United at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Kick-off between Crew SC and the Revolution is set for Wednesday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available here.