After being at home for the entire month of June, Columbus Crew SC (5-10-2, 17 pts.) hit the road on Wednesday, June 3 when the Black & Gold face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Last Saturday, Crew SC led the match in several statistical categories, but fell short in a 2-0 loss to Orlando City SC. From this match, the Black & Gold know they can control from box-to-box, but know that matches are ultimately decided from what occurs in the box.
“We had a lot of good stuff,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “but we got to finish. It is that simple. The game comes down to scoring goals and stopping goals. We are out playing opponents and we are in more positions.”
As for Real Salt Lake (7-8-2, 23 pts.), they are coming off of a 2-0 victory at home against Sporting Kansas City. In the match, Salt Lake’s Sam Johnson secured a brace in the first half to earn the win. On the season, Johnson has scored a team-leading seven goals.
After Johnson, Salt Lake’s goal production is led by Albert Rusnak with six goals, four of which have come from the penalty spot. When asked about the squad, Porter mentioned that the group is good enough to punish you if you are not focused.
“Like most teams,” he said, “they are good enough to beat you if you are not on your A-game and if you don’t finish and make plays in the box.”
Defensively, RSL has given up 28 goals this season, four of which have come from errors. On Wednesday, Crew SC must make sure that they find a way to finish the chances that they are given and do so early.
“If you are in that moment,” said midfielder Luis Argudo, “and you are the guy that has the ball and can make that play, then it is up to you to score. We need a forward or a winger to score goals because we are the attackers. I think Wednesday is another opportunity for us to get a goal.”
Wednesday’s match will provide the Black & Gold an opportunity for some players to add new energy into the next match, while also allowing some other players to rest as the group has another quick turnaround until Saturday's match against the Seattle Sounders.
“We will rotate some guys in,” said Porter. “It will be good to see how some guys do. It also gives us a good chance because they have energy and fresh legs. And then that sets up Seattle to have a bunch of fresh guys.”
With different players on the roster rotating in, Crew SC wants to use this an opportunity for different people to step up.
“There are a bunch of other guys on the team that are ready to play and to step up, said Argudo. “We need everyone on the team to help push forward.”
Kickoff on Wednesday is slated for 10:00 p.m. ET at Rio Tinto 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.