Following back-to-back road matches in a five-day span, Columbus Crew SC returns home to host the Montreal Impact on Saturday, July 20 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Black & Gold (5-14-3, 18 pts.) are coming off a 2-2 draw at the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. In the match, Gyasi Zardes returned to the scoring fold early in the second half with a one-time finish in the box off the pass from Luis Argudo, who recorded his first career MLS regular-season assist.
After going down for the second time on the day via a 2-1 scoreline, 79th-minute substitution Romario Williams scored the equalizer in his Club debut in the 90th minute when Luis Diaz, who also made his Crew SC debut as a second-half sub, swung in a looping ball into the six-yard box for a Williams header.
After the match, head coach Caleb Porter commented on his substitutes' performances.
“I think it was the first time this year where really, we got a push off the bench,” he said, “where a guy came in the game and pulled off a play for us. We haven’t had that all season long.”
While the draw broke a four-match winless streak, the focus turns quickly to Saturday as the team closes out its fourth 3-match, 8-day stretch this season.
“The most important thing is how we recover and get ready for Saturday,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “Ties are good when you come from behind, but they only really matter if we start gaining points if we win. So, it's a big opportunity at home on Saturday.”
As for Montreal (9-10-3, 30 pts.), the club is coming off of a 2-0 loss to Toronto FC on Saturday. Currently, the Impact remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. On the season, they have scored 26 goals and are led by Saphir Taider (7), Orji Okwonkwo (4), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (3), and Ignacio Piatti (3). Defensively, the Impact has conceded the fifth-most goal this regular season (36) and has allowed three or more goals in a match five times.
Saturday’s match marks the second meeting between the two sides this season after the two teams met back on April 13, when the Impact came away with a 1-0 victory off a 55th-minute goal from Maxi Urruti at Stade Saputo.
One factor that could affect the match is the location. Since Montreal has joined the MLS in 2012, the Impact is 1-8-2 at MAPFRE Stadium and has conceded 25 goals while only scoring 12.
Currently, the Black & Gold are 11 points back from a playoff spot and a win Saturday against a rested Impact could push Columbus in a positive direction as the All-Star break approaches.
“We owe our fans a win,” Porter said. “If we get a win on Saturday, now we start to put together a little bit of a run and we get some momentum. It won’t be easy. We’re playing Montreal and Montreal didn’t have a [midweek game]. So, we need to recover mentally and physically, and we need to show up again with the same mentality.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET and supporters can watch the match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).