PREVIEW | MLS originals set for collision at MAPFRE Stadium

Columbus Crew SC returns to MAPFRE Stadium aiming to continue its unbeaten 2018 as it hosts D.C. United in a matchup of Major League Soccer originals. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. ET.

Since 1996, Crew SC has faced United 66 times with a 28-27-11 all-time record. In the clubs' last meeting on September 30, 2017, the Black & Gold topped United, 2-0, to clinch a spot in the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Last week at the Philadelphia Union, Columbus started the same XI as its first two matches. Despite it ending scoreless, Crew SC out-possessed (51 percent) and out-passed (84 percent) the Union. Gyasi Zardes came close for Columbus with a header just wide in the 51st minute while Federico Higuain continued his quest toward the MLS 50-goals, 50-assists club, setting up Zardes on multiple runs, but they failed to produce a goal.

D.C United is coming off a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo last week, fighting their way back from a two-goal deficit at halftime. Midfielder Luciano Acosta scored the equalizer in the 97th- minute to cement the comeback.

“The next game is going to be a tough one," said defender Jonathan Mensah. "With D.C. coming to Columbus, everyone knows how tough it is to play against us. We are not looking at what they are going to bring — we are just working on what we want to show on Saturday.”

Crew SC enters Saturday sans two impact players as captain Wil Trapp and goalkeeper Zack Steffen have been called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for a friendly against Paraguay next Tuesday.

The Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium March 24 for a matchup against D.C. United at 6 p.m. ET.

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