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Slumping Crew SC looks to end 4-game skid at tough DC United tonight

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY  David Cath; COURTESY COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLUMBUS— Columbus Crew SC (4-5-1, 13 pts.) travels to face D.C. United (5-3-2, 17 pts.) at Audi Field tonight, Saturday, May 4. The match begins at 8:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised regionally on SportsTime Ohio and streamed on FOX Sports GO, featuring Neil Sika, Dwight Burgess and Duncan Oughton on the call. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tonight’s match also airs locally on the radio in English on 1460 AM ESPN, 97.1 HD2 and streaming online via “Listen Live” at 971TheFan.com, featuring Chris Doran broadcasting the contest. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream Spanish-language audio broadcast with Juan Valladares behind the microphone. The Crew’s contest against D.C. United marks the second and final regular-season meeting between the clubs in 2019, as well as the first of three matches for the Crew in the span of eight days.

Columbus Crew SC is four points out from the top of the Eastern Conference table as the Black & Gold head down to Audi Field in a match-up against the top team in the East, D.C. United, on Saturday, May 4.

In the two sides’ first meeting of 2019, D.C. rode the coattails of Wayne Rooney’s free-kick goal and a bunker-down second-half defensive effort en route to a 1-0 victory at MAPFRE Stadium.

As dominant as D.C. was at Audi Field in 2018, the home momentum has appeared to wear off through the beginning stages of the 2019 season with only seven of their 17 total points coming in the District.

Overall, April 24’s match featured a solid showing from the Crew (4-5-1, 13 pts.), including a dominant second half that seemed to feature all but the final ball.

A week ago against D.C. (5-3-2, 17 pts.), the Crew posted 18 shots, 12 corners, 33 open play crosses, and a 59-percent possession rating, all match-highs.

With the transition defense at the forefront once again, D.C. brings one of the League’s best counter-attacking trios in Luciano Acosta, Wayne Rooney, and Paul Arriola, though Acosta’s production has diminished compared to last year’s 10-goal, 15-assist performance with two goals and one assist in 10 matches played.

Regardless, shutting them down remains a prime objective for the Crew’s defense come Saturday, as it was in last year’s Knockout Round match when the Crew advanced past D.C. on Nov. 1, 2018 at Audi Field.

Notably, D.C. United is scoreless in their last three home games, going 0-2-1 in the process, while Columbus looks for its first tally since Pedro Santos’ second goal of the season in a 3-1 loss to Portland on April 20.

Ahead of Saturday, statistics would say it’s a very even-sided game. In goals conceded, D.C. has allowed 10 compared to Columbus’ 11, while offensively, both clubs sport 37 shots on target.

This season, Columbus’ 84 chances created bests D.C.’s 71, but the clubs’ final-third passing totals stand at 611 and 605 in favor of Crew SC, while a majority of each club’s goals have come from either set plays or dead ball scenarios.