The Columbus Crew plays its final match before the Leagues Cup break on Saturday night/Sunday morning when the Black & Gold face the Portland Timbers at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Start grinding your coffee beans now.
Three Things To Know
8.1 – Saturday night is hardly a trap game, but it’ll be interesting to see how the club approaches the final league match until Aug. 20. While it’s important to enter the break on a high note, the Crew will be playing its latest game of the year — and without head coach Wilfried Nancy, who’s suspended two matches (He will miss the FC Cincinnati game on Aug. 20, too). Cucho Hernández will also serve a one-match suspension. But Columbus is eight games unbeaten and playing with passion, especially after the 1-1 comeback against New York City FC last Saturday. As the Gold Cup inches closer to conclusion and players return from injuries, the Black & Gold are in a good spot. A positive result in Portland would reiterate that.
8.2 – Let’s take a minute to appreciate the man in goal. If Patrick Schulte suits up Saturday night in Portland, the match will be his 20th MLS appearance of his career, and so far, the rookie has impressed. In 19 games, he’s earned four clean sheets and has amassed 62 saves — about 3.3 per game. Against NYCFC, though, he made a career-high eight saves and delivered an inspiring performance that was somewhat minimized given the hoopla on other side of the pitch. Perhaps the two best traits of a goalkeeper are consistency and reliability, and the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year offers both attributes. Don’t forget that with Miloš Degenek and Gustavo Vallecilla returning from injuries, the backline in front of Schulte should only get stronger, too.
12 – Well, this is certainly the latest start time for the Crew players this year — and supporters too. The 2015 MLS Cup Final rematch pairs Columbus with a Timbers team that’s fallen behind in the Western Conference standings. Portland is 12th in the west with 23 points from 22 games, and the club is registering roughly a goal a game (Opponents are scoring 1.4 goals a match). The Timbers haven’t won a match in more than a month, so the pressure will be on Columbus to continue Portland’s winless streak while maintaining an unbeaten streak of its own
When They Last Met
Kevin Molino scored a first half goal, but Santiago Moreno’s 95th-minute equalizer forced the sides to settle for a point on Sept. 18, 2022 at Lower.com Field. When it comes to the last meeting in Oregon, talk about a blast from the past. Sept. 19, 2018 was the last time they played in Portland, where the Crew was defeated, 3-2. Niko Hansen’s brace, including a goal in the 93rd minute, wasn’t enough for Columbus to earn a point.
Who: Columbus Crew at Portland Timbers
When: Saturday, July 15 at 10:30 p.m.
Where: Providence Park
How to Watch: MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app
How to Listen: 97.1 HD3/The Fan Stream, La Mega 103.1 FM
Current Standings: Columbus Crew – Fifth in Eastern Conference; Portland Timbers – 12th in Western Conference
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