In a bounce-back opportunity against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew SC (2-1-1, 7 pts.) returns home on Saturday to MAPFRE Stadium, a site that’s played a formidable role in the Club’s sustained success over the last two seasons.
As Crew SC (2-1-1, 7 pts.) gets set to host Atlanta United FC (0-1-2, 2 pts.), the Black & Gold continue to lead the League in most regular-season home points since 2017 with 86. Within that time, Crew SC stands tied with the Seattle Sounders and the New York Red Bulls for most home wins (26), while this season, the Crew remain unbeaten with a 1-0-1 record. The Club is one of 11 MLS teams without a home loss and at least one home win this season.
Come Saturday, head coach Caleb Porter mentioned how the team is not only looking forward to responding from last weekend's performance, but to regroup and showcase the team's identity.
“I’m glad we are bouncing back against the best team in the League from last year,” Porter said, “because we can make a real statement. A lot of people are wondering what kind of team we are. When you look at the last game, we aren’t going to let that define us. We want to let the previous games define us, but we have to be better than that too. We are looking forward to making a statement in this next game about what kind of team that we are and getting back to doing the things that we are good at doing, because that’s really key.”
Last year, the Crew’s bounce-back rate spoke for itself, as the Black & Gold touted a 5-0-1 record in home matches upon returning from a road trip that featured a loss.
As for Atlanta, given their success last year in leading the League with 70 regular-season goals on top of featuring the League’s most prolific striker, it’s a proven team that’s still in search of its first win of 2019, which only intensifies the stakes come Saturday.
“They are a good team, they are defending champions now and they are going to come in with a lot of confidence,” said defender Jonathan Mensah. “They haven’t won a game this season, so they are going to come into the game wanting their first three points. We are also playing at home, so we have to do our best and get three points also.”
Six of the Crew's first nine matches are at home, and with five of the final seven regular-season matches on the road, capitalizing on these early season opportunities is key, Mensah said.
"We all know the season is long. We don’t like to lose games now. We want to get lots of points now. It’s going to help the team in the second [half] of the season."
Kickoff against Atlanta is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on March 30 at MAPFRE Stadium. Supporters can watch the match on SportsTime Ohio, stream on the FOX Sports GO app, or listen to the English audio on ESPN Columbus 1460 AM or the Spanish Audio on ColumbusCrewSC.com.