At this time last week, Columbus Crew SC faced an eight-match winless run on the road and were set to face an opponent with a 12-match home-opener unbeaten run.
Now, following a 2-0 win over New England, the Black & Gold (1-0-1, 4 pts.) ride newfound momentum as they return to MAPFRE Stadium to host FC Dallas (1-0-1, 4 pts.) in what will be the visitor’s first road match of the 2019 regular season.
“This game is going to be difficult,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “We’re playing [F.C.] Dallas, they’re a good team, they won the last game. Four points in the two games, they’re a possession team. It’ll be a different type of game than the last two.”
Following a match which featured a penalty-kick save from Zack Steffen, two goals from the team's No. 9 in Gyasi Zardes, and solid spells of control in the midfield, the Black & Gold play at home, where they have yet to lose since June 13, 2018 (6-0-2).
“It’s big for our team confidence-wise,” said midfielder Hector Jimenez on earning that first win on the road. “It’s also, [Caleb] mentioned earlier today, in our last eight road games, it’s our first win. So it’s good for the team but definitely it’ll be nice to get a home win too...So hopefully we can translate what we did last week into this week.”
As for Dallas, the Toros are coming off a 2-0 home win over the LA Galaxy. The match featured a 64-percent possession advantage for Dallas, who placed four shots on frame compared to LA’s one while the Galaxy appeared content with open-play crosses, firing 17 of them compared to Dallas’ five.
In their season opener, the Toros drew the Revolution 1-1 and had a 65.7 percent possession rate on Opening Day, the most of any MLS team. Notably, it was the most possession they have had in an MLS match since August 8, 2010 when they had 68.7% against Philadelphia.
Getting away from the disruptive nature of last weekend, Porter emphasized this weekend’s match as a different type of match-up.
“It’ll be more of a soccer game and it’ll come down to which team is more precise and clever in breaking the opponent down and keeping the ball and opposing their will with the ball, and so it’s a different type of game,” Porter said. “The guys over the last two games, in a type of game that’s physical, direct, disruptive, they [Crew SC] got four points, now let’s see how we do in a soccer game.”
Notably, Crew SC topped Dallas 2-1 in the teams' last match at MAPFRE Stadium on Aug. 26, 2017, while in the last six meetings, each side has come away with two draws and one win.
Kickoff against Dallas is set for 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 16 at MAPFRE Stadium. The match will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio and 97.1 FM The Fan. Followers can also tune into the live Spanish audio stream at www.ColumbusCrewSC.com.