Columbus Crew SC prepares to host the second of the two LA teams this week when the Club faces Los Angeles Football Club on Saturday, May 11 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Crew (5-6-1, 16 pts.) are building off of a 3-1 victory against the LA Galaxy from Wednesday night that helped end a five-game losing stint, as the win helped push the Black & Gold up to fifth in the Eastern Conference Standings.
"I’m happy, very pleased," midfielder Federico Higuain said in regard to getting the result on Wednesday. "Again, we were talking a lot this week, it’s nice to see that we still believe in each other. Because it is very easy to trust in your teammate when things are going in your way, but when things are not going your way, it’s much [more] beautiful to keep trusting in your teammate."
As for LAFC (7-1-3, 24 pts.), they are coming off of a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 4 at Banc of California Stadium. The team currently sits alone atop the Western Conference standings and is tied for the lead in goals conceded with eight through 11 matches. They also are second in the League for successful passes (4,915), behind only Crew SC (5,217).
Scoring-wise LAFC is led by Golden Boot front-runner, Carlos Vela and his League-high 11 goals, followed by teammate Diego Rossi's six. Vela was also named the MLS Player of the Month presented by EA Sports for both March and April. Additionally, LAFC leads the League in chances created from both open play and set plays, resulting in their League-leading 26 goals to date in the 2019 regular season.
The Black & Gold are aware of the challenge ahead. “It doesn’t get any easier,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “I’d say they’re probably the best team in the League, in just the way they’re playing, the way they attack, the talent that they have, top team so it’s going to be a difficult test and they didn’t have a midweek game so it’s a real challenge, it’s going to be David vs. Goliath for sure.”
The Black & Gold know the importance of getting in the back of the net first. Both Columbus and LAFC have come out victorious in every match where they have scored first. When asked about this, forward Gyasi Zardes said, “Getting the first goal is extremely important because it forces our opponent to step out and press more, which will leave more vulnerable spaces for us to make passes that break the line. It’s always important to get that first goal just to get a team out of their comfort shell and we can try to get the second and get the third.”
This match marks the third game in eight days for Crew SC. When asked if he plans to rotate the roster for LAFC, Porter replied, “Can we do it the third game? I think so. Will we play the exact same guys? Who knows, we’ll see. We’ll keep our cards close to our vests on that [chuckles] but will we rotate four, five guys like we’ve been rotating? Probably not.”
Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium. Fans can tune-in on FOX Sports Ohio or 97.1 FM The Fan, or stream the match on FOX Sports GO as well as stream the audio on www.ColumbusCrewSC.com.