Columbus Crew SC (12-8-8) continues its two-game road trip on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to face the Portland Timbers (12-8-8) for the lone time this regular season, with kickoff slated for 10:30 p.m. ET at Providence Park.
In their last meeting on March 25, 2017, Columbus defeated the Timbers 3-2 at MAPFRE Stadium following a game-winning goal in the 84th minute from Niko Hansen, who made his Major League Soccer debut in the 60th minute after coming on for Justin Meram.
An equalizer from Meram and a go-ahead from Ola Kamara, which Portland responded to, resulted in a 2-2 score at the end of the first half. Hansen’s late tally secured the victory for Columbus and Portland’s first defeat of the 2017 regular season.
Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who recorded his ninth shutout of the season on Saturday at Dallas, spoke on Wednesday's quick turnaround as being a part of the business, with Portland marking the Club's second game in five days.
"You just try and get your bodies back as much as you can, do some video, and try and treat it just like another game," Steffen said. "It's quick, it's less rest, but we're professionals and that's what you have to do."
On Sept. 15, Columbus Crew SC battled conference-leading FC Dallas, its first Western Conference opponent of September, to a scoreless draw. The Black & Gold earned a coveted point behind a staunch defensive effort that continues to rank as the League's best on the road.
Away from MAPFRE Stadium, Crew SC now ranks first or tied for first in shutouts (6), goals conceded (16), and shots on target allowed (48), while Saturday's result marked the first time Dallas was held scoreless at Toyota Stadium this season.
Similarly, the Timbers, who rank sixth in the west, also faced a Texas opponent last Saturday, seeing a 4-1 loss on the road to the Houston Dynamo. Portland’s only goal came in the form of an own goal by Houston's Alejandro Fuenmayor in the ninth minute. Houston went on to score four unanswered, however, breaking Portland’s three-game unbeaten run.
Columbus currently holds down fourth-place in the Eastern Conference, moving one point further from the Philadelphia Union and five points behind New York City FC. Crew SC is unbeaten in its last three matches heading into Wednesday.
The Black & Gold close out their three-game, eight-day stretch on Saturday, Sept 22 as the Colorado Rapids visit MAPFRE Stadium. The match, which is part of Hispanic Heritage Night, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET.