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DC United vs. Columbus Crew SC | 2018 Knockout Round Preview

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew SC
Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs — Knockout Round

Audi Field — Washington, D.C.
November 1 — 8 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, UniMás, TVAS, TSN

Unbeaten in their last 10 games of the regular season, a confident D.C. United side return to Audi Field for the eighth time in their last nine games to host Columbus Crew SC in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round on Thursday night.

D.C. United sealed home-field advantage for the Knockout Round and earned the No. 4 seed in the East with a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire, coupled with the Philadelphia Union falling to New York City FC, 3-1, on 2018 MLS Decision Day presented by AT&T.

Crew SC, meanwhile, needed a 3-2 win over Minnesota United FC on at MAPFRE Stadium to clinch a playoff berth, jumping ahead of the Union into fifth place.

The teams split two regular-season meetings this season, each holding serve at home with Crew SC winning 3-1 at MAPFRE Stadium on March 24 with Ricardo Clark and Pedro Santos scoring two minutes apart just before halftime after Yamil Asad canceled out Milton Valenzuela’s opening strike.

Three weeks later, D.C. United prevailed 1-0 in a match played at Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium. Ulises Segura scored the lone goal — his first in MLS — in just the first minute and D.C. played almost 40 minutes down a man after Paul Arriola was sent off after Video Review.

This is the fourth all-time playoff meeting between the MLS originals with D.C. United winning the first three, capturing 6-of-the-8 matches played. It is the first postseason encounter since the 1999 Eastern Conference Championship series. D.C. went on to beat the LA Galaxy to capture a third MLS Cup in the league’s first four years.

D.C. United

It was mission accomplished for D.C. United, which wanted to host a Knockout Round game and got the necessary result in a 0-0 draw in Chicago on Sunday.

There were few scoring chances on a rainy, blustery afternoon at Toyota Park, which suited D.C. just fine, knowing a road draw meant a return to Audi Field, where they are 12-2-1 since it opened on July 14. United also extended an unbeaten streak to 10 games dating back to a 2-0 loss at home to the Philadelphia Union.

“I am very happy to be associated with this team,” said head coach Ben Olsen. “They are a gutsy group who have been able to win in a variety of ways over the last couple of months. The group understands that it doesn’t mean much right now. The fun part begins with a Knockout game at home in front of our fans. It’s a great opportunity and we don’t want to squander that. We want to keep playing as long as we can.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Taylor Kemp (labrum surgery), GK - David Ousted (elbow surgery), D - Chris Odoi-Atsem (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), D - Vytas (hip injury), D - Oniel Fisher (knee surgery),  D - Kofi Opara (hip injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Bill Hamid — Paul Arriola, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora — Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno — Ulises Segura, Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad — Wayne Rooney

  • Notes: Since the day of Wayne Rooney’s debut, he and teammate Luciano Acosta each have nine goals from the field of play; only two players have more. … Since the start of September, no team has more wins (7), goals (21) or points (24) in league play than D.C. United. They are also the only MLS club without a loss in that time.

Columbus Crew SC

It was a nervy few hours, but Columbus rebounded from back-to-back losses to defeat the Loons and book their playoff ticket on the final day of the regular season.

Gyasi Zardes put on his Superman cape, scoring the first of his three goals in the 11th minute before doubling the lead 4 minutes after halftime. Francisco Calvo responded with a brace of his own to level the score in the 77th minute, but Zardes completed his hat trick 6 minutes later to seal the win with his 19th goal of the season.

“This was a challenging year. I am really proud of the guys for staying focused and battling through adversity,” said head coach Gregg Berhalter. “It wasn’t the easiest scenario that we had to deal with and the guys hung in there. They focused on themselves and they focused on growing together as a unit and as a team. It is nice to compete now in the playoffs and our focus is now on going to D.C. (United) and playing a really good game.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Mike Grella (left knee meniscectomy)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Zack Steffen — Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Gaston Sauro, Milton Valenzuela — Wil Trapp, Artur — Niko Hansen, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram — Gyasi Zardes

  • Notes: Zardes’ hat trick was the first scored by a Crew SC player since Justin Meram on May 13, 2017; Zardes is the eighth Columbus player to record a hat trick in franchise history. … The Crew won just three of their league road games in 2018 (9L-5D), their second-fewest road wins in a MLS season since 2010. They scored a total of 11 goals in those games.

All-Time Series (Regular Season)

Officials

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Brian Poeschel
Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic

Read More

Current Form

D.C. United
Columbus

Season Stats

D.C. UnitedColumbus Crew SC
34Games Played34
14Wins14
11Losses11
9Draws9
60Goals43
50Goals Conceded45
305Shots367
149Shots on Target155
377Fouls committed365
393Fouls suffered347
49Offside82
147Corners215

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
DC511963601.8
CLB128770431.3
01234+Avg
DC235522.2
CLB245601.9
01234+Avg
DC384111.4
CLB1042100.6

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
DC615571501.5
CLB1091041451.3
01234+Avg
DC583101
CLB466101.2
01234+Avg
DC172611.9
CLB634311.4
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