Columbus Crew SC will host D.C. United for the MAPFRE Stadium regular-season finale on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
Here are some storylines to keep an eye on:
Win and we're in!
MLS action returns this weekend after a busy midweek slate, and Columbus — and six other sides — have a chance to clinch their berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. It's time to #ClaimGlory in Columbus.
The Black & Gold remain at home in the push for the playoffs when they play D.C. United on Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET. With a win, Crew SC will cement its postseason qualification without relying on any other league-wide results.
Other clinching scenarios include a Columbus tie versus D.C. United on Saturday and a Montreal Impact tie or loss versus the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. A final clinching scenario could see the Impact tie or lose versus Colorado Rapids on Saturday and a New England Revolution tie or loss versus Atlanta United on Saturday.
Columbus closes the regular season on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22.
The 411 on the 202
After a hard fought battle with the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night that ultimately ended in a 3-3 draw, D.C. United’s post-season dreams have come ended. However, they can still ruin the dream for other Eastern Conference teams.
United is currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table with a 9-17-5 record this season. This will be the second meeting between the Black & Gold this season and the 65th overall.
Patrick Mullins has proven to be a valuable piece in United’s attacking force. Not only has Mullins netted five goals in his last two matches, four of those goals were a part of a record-breaking performance against the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.
Mullins became the 11th player in MLS history to score four goals in one game, but he was also able to do so in 31 minutes, the shortest span in League history. The 25-year-old forward has quickly climbed his way to the top of D.C. United’s leading scorers’ list this season accompanied by Luciano Acosta with five total. Mullins has shown that he is able to create space for himself by moving off the ball, and he is capable of finishing at a high rate when given the opportunity.
Long Time No Steve...
Saturday’s match will also be a reunion of sorts for Crew SC as United’s current — and Columbus’ former — goalkeeper, Steve Clark, returns to MAPFRE Stadium for the first time since United signed him on a free transfer in August. As three-year starter for Crew SC, Clark played a vital role in the Black & Gold’s to for the 2015 MLS Cup Final.
At D.C. United, the 31-year-old Michigan native has some big shoes to fill in Bill Hamid’s injury absence, but he has proven himself capable. Wednesday night’s match against the New York Red Bulls showed that, with Clark making five diving saves and four saves from inside the box, including a huge one in the 65th minute by one of MLS’s top scorers, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
On Thursday, Crew SC announced that its Pay As We Play Plan for potential Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoff matches at MAPFRE Stadium through the Eastern Conference Championship are on sale to the general public.