Columbus Crew SC (5-7-1, 16 pts.) travels to the new Allianz Field this weekend when they take on Minnesota United FC on Saturday, May 18. The stadium opened just a month ago and the Black & Gold are looking to capitalize on the new environment.
“They are in a new environment, new stadium,” said forward Gyasi Zardes. “It is going to be a great opportunity for us to step out on the field and battle.”
The Crew are coming off of a 3-0 loss against LAFC at home but are looking forward to the opportunity that comes with this next match.
“I think after the game,” said midfielder Robinho, “you have your head down. You sleep on it. But after that, you raise your head back up and start to think about how it is a new day. It is a new opportunity.”
Minnesota United FC (4-4-3, 15 pts.) is currently sitting in sixth in Western Conference. They are coming off of a 2-0 loss at the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 11. The Loons held possession for a majority of the match (52%) but were not able to create many chances in the match as they got only five shots with two on target for the entire match.
Minnesota has scored 19 goals this season, the fifth most in the League. Their goal production is led by Darwin Quintero with five goals on the season, four of which have been from the penalty spot. He is followed by Angelo Rodriguez with four and Romario Ibarra with two.
Before the match even begins, Crew SC must first predict the plans for Minnesota. The Loons have played in five different systems through their first 11 matches. This is something that head coach Caleb Porter must consider, but his main goal is for his squad is to continue to do what they do well.
“They are a team that has to factor in the opponent and adjust,” he said. “Sometimes they will press a little bit higher. Sometimes they will keep the ball a little bit more. Sometimes they will drop in and absorb and play in transition. They have played a few different systems. I think we have to predict what they are going to do. I think the biggest thing is that we have to play well. Keep doing what we have been doing.”
While the Black & Gold must continue to find success in what they do well, they also must work to limit the mistakes that they make. So far this season, Crew SC has conceded five goals off of errors, the most in the League. The good news is that the team feels that these mistakes are something that they can fix.
“We just give up easy goals with big mistakes,” said defender Gaston Sauro. “We don’t have to do it anymore. I think it is fixable.”
Saturday’s match not only provides the Black & Gold opportunities to fix these mistakes, but it also gives the squad a chance to work together to get the ball into the back of the net.
“It is a collective effort to scoring goals. Pack of wolves hunt together, and they utilize each other to kill their prey,” Zardes said.” I feel like we do the same thing on the field. Everybody plays a role and we can score goals and get results.”
Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 8 p.m. ET at Allianz Field. Fans can tune-in on SportsTime 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.