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Match Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Columbus Crew

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps take on the Columbus Crew in a game that will go down in history as one of many games that are on this Saturday. The Whitecaps are already eliminated from the playoffs and Columbus need to win all of their remaining games, need New England to not win any games, Montreal to win no more than once and for the Chicago fire to win no more than once whilst taking a massive hit to their goal difference. Essentially they’re out as well. Can you feel the excitement in the air?

Schedule and Broadcast information

Columbus:

Despite their position second from the bottom in the East, the Crew aren’t actually that bad. They have a couple of major weaknesses but for the most part they are a perfectly average MLS team. These weaknesses are that they are below average at defending set pieces, conceding 10 goals from them in 2019, and that they generate very few shots. The shots Columbus do generate are usually pretty good with an average xG per shot of 0.09 but they generate so few that they haven’t been able to score enough goals to do more damage. A major reason for their struggles is playmaker Federico Higuaín suffering a cruciate ligament injury. New signings Youness Mokhtar and Luis Diaz have improved things somewhat but it will most likely be too little too late.

Columbus has played a 4-2-3-1 in 27/31 games in 2019. Most of the play flows through the two holding midfielders with Wil Trapp and his colleagues having by far the highest percentages of the team’s touches. They attack most commonly down the right where the combination of Pedro Santos and Harrison Afful can do some damage. Other than Santos the only player Columbus has who has more than 2 goals is Gyasi Zardes who essentially just stands in the box and has balls bounce in off of him.

Vancouver:

The Vancouver Whitecaps did not loose their previous game. There’s not all that much to get excited about other than that. Theo Bair might score another goal, that would be nice. Michaell Chirinos is looking like a decent signing, maybe his budding chemistry with Ali Adnan will continue to bloom. Maybe a young player we haven’t seen yet will get a debut (unlikely).

Injuries:

Columbus:

  • OUT: D - Milton Valenzuela (torn ACL 2/8, out 9-12 months)
  • OUT: M - Federico Higuain (ACL injury 5/25, out for season)
  • OUT: D - Hector Jimenez (left knee injury)
  • OUT: D - Waylon Francis (leg injury)
  • OUT: D - Josh Williams (right thigh injury)

Vancouver:

  • OUT: M/D - PC (middle back spasm)
  • OUT: D - Erik Godoy (right calf tightness)
  • QUESTIONABLE: GK - Maxime Crepeau (right ankle injury)
  • QUESTIONABLE: D - Brett Levis (back injury)
  • PROBABLE: D - Jake Nerwinski (left ankle injury)

Prediction:

A soul crushingly dull 0-0 draw.