COLUMBUS – After earning the fifth seed in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and the right to compete in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, Columbus Crew SC will travel south for a Thursday night (7 p.m. ET) match with Atlanta United FC in knockout-round play as they attempt to #ClaimGlory.
The Black & Gold squared off with the Five Stripes twice during the regular season, falling 3-1 on the road on June 17 and losing 2-0 at home on July 1. Columbus did earn a victory over the expansion-side during preseason play in Charleston, South Carolina by a score of 2-1 on Feb. 18.
Crew SC will bring a 10-match unbeaten streak into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in win or go home play. Atlanta’s record in its past 10 games stands at 5-1-4. Crew SC’s regular season record on the road was 4-9-4 compared to Atlanta’s 11-3-3 record at home.
Atlanta’s goal-scoring attack is led by forward Josef Martinez (18 goals), who is flanked by midfielder Miguel Almiron, the Reds’ season assist leader (13 assists).
Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen is tasked with stopping Martinez and Almiron. In his first year of MLS play with Crew SC, Steffen has saved 98 shots and recorded nine shutouts.
Former Crew SC member Michael Parkhurst captains the United defense. United States Men’s National Team-member Brad Guzan mans the goal in Atlanta and owns 34 saves on the year.
Guzan and Parkhurst will attempt to slow down Crew SC’s attacking trio of forward Ola Kamara (18 goals), midfielder Justin Meram (13 goals, 7 assists) and midfielder Federico Higuain (9 goals and 14 assists).
The match will mark expansion-side Atlanta’s first trip to the postseason. The trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be the first for Crew SC, after battling Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium earlier in the year while the Five Stripes’ new stadium was being completed.