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September 2019
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Crew SC back in action Saturday night at Atlanta United FC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLUMBUS— Columbus Crew SC (8-15-7, 31 pts.) travels to face Atlanta United (15-10-3, 48 pts.) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, September 14. The match begins at 7:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised regionally on FOX Sports Ohio and streamed on FOX Sports GO, featuring Neil Sika, Dwight Burgess and Ashley Collins on the call. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tomorrow’s match also airs locally on the radio in English on 97.1 The Fan 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 match against Atlanta United is the second of two regular-season meetings between the clubs in 2019.

Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United
Saturday, September 14 – 7:00 p.m. ET – Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Georgia)

Regional Television: FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) | Coverage begins: 6:30 p.m. ET
Regional Television Channel Guide: https://www.ColumbusCrewSC.com/broadcast
Crew SC Radio: 97.1 The Fan and streaming online via “Listen Live” at 971TheFan.com. (English); ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish).

ABOUT COLUMBUS CREW SC
Columbus Crew SC (Soccer Club) is the first club in Major League Soccer. Crew SC is operated by The Edwards Family and The Haslam Family. The Black & Gold won their first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and also won the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. The 2019 campaign is the Crew’s 24th season in MLS and the 20th season at historic MAPFRE Stadium – the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. The Club has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in four of the last five seasons, including winning the Eastern Conference Championship in 2015.

Heading into Saturday’s match at Atlanta United, it is an opportunity, as head coach Caleb Porter put it, to see “individually who can do it and help us execute the way we want to play.”

The defending MLS Cup champions are winners of four straight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium – a place where Columbus still has yet to see a regular-season victory. With Club & Country players coming in on short rest, combined with a number of injuries (no new news, of course), Porter mentioned how it has been an interesting week, but that the attitude has been great and that it presents a healthy measuring opportunity.

“Obviously, we know where we are at in terms of the playoffs and the challenges of that,” Porter said. ”For me, I look at this as a chance to measure where we are at in our progress and be respective of what happens at the end of the year.

“It’s a great game for us to see how far we’ve come, see how far we need to go because this is definitely one of the best teams in the League, so it’s a real challenge – our guys are up for it,” he continued.

Challenge is a suitable word, but nothing that the Crew cannot overcome, as they have proven.

Yes, Atlanta is unbeaten in its last 11 matches at Mercedes-Benz. Yes, the Crew defeated the 2018 champs 2-0 on March 30 (and yes, the field circumstances were unique).

That being said, Atlanta will be without Designated Player and 2019 MLS All-Star Ezequiel Barco, who has four goals and two assists through 13 matches. Barco played in both the March 30 match at MAPFRE Stadium and the U.S. Open Cup match on June 18.

Meanwhile, the Crew welcomes the return of five players from international duty, including Gyasi Zardes, who has tallied four goals in the last five road games, while Eloy Room has made at least four saves in each of the last three matches. Notably, since Room’s Crew debut vs. Montreal on July 20, the Crew has lost just once in eight total matches.

As for ATL, switching from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 has them back to 2018 form, and as Porter mentioned, a top-two team in the League next to LAFC. A higher tempo with more up-front pressure has seen Atlanta tally up a 12-1 scoring edge in the last four matches overall while the defending champs hold the second-best home scoring margin at plus-20.

With three of the final four regular-season games on the road, in addition to a home game against one of the East’s top teams in Philadelphia, it’s a gauging opportunity, Porter reiterated.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to close the year out and see how far we’ve come, see how far we still need to go, see individually who can do it and help us execute the way we want to play. That’s the way we’re looking at it and approaching it. We want to a have team and be a club of winners. It doesn’t matter – games, friendlies. Our mindset is always the same, win the game.”

Kickoff at Atlanta is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Ohio. Supporters can also listen live on ColumbusCrewSC.com.

Website: ColumbusCrewSC.com | Twitter: @ColumbusCrewSC | Instagram: @ColumbusCrewSC | Hashtag: #Crew96 | Facebook.com/columbuscrewsc | Snapchat: ColumbusCrewSC | Stadium: MAPFRE Stadium | Training Facility: Crew SC Training Center at Obetz

 

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