Back from the international break, the Black & Gold return to action on Saturday night when they face Orlando City SC in a much-anticipated Eastern Conference clash.
Three Things To Know
7 – Only seven matches remain in the 2023 MLS regular season and few will offer more implications than Saturday night. Yes, there’s plenty of time for clubs to jockey for their final standings, but this matchup could certainly help determine which of these clubs is more likely to host a home game in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Columbus Crew is fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with 45 points from 27 games. As for Orlando, City SC sits third with 47 points from 27 matches. A Crew win would jump Columbus above Orlando in the standings, and, depending on other matches, could place Wilfried Nancy’s side second in the East. Look … we still have more than a month of soccer left, so keep calm. However … it’s starting to get very, very interesting.
8 – Supporters love living in the moment. Coaches have to keep an eye on the future. So, however Nancy approaches this match with Orlando, it’s important to remember this is just the first of three matches in an eight-day span. Including Saturday night in the citrus capital, the Crew returns to Columbus on Wednesday to host rivals Chicago Fire in a sold-out midweek match. Following that, the Black & Gold return to the Lone Star State to face FC Dallas next Saturday night in Frisco. This means two-of-the-next-three games are on the road in hot, southern states. The other is a rivalry match with a historic archrival. These are big-time games at an important time in the campaign. By next Sunday, the Crew will only have four matches remaining in the regular season. By taking it one match at a time, this eight-day stretch could have massive implications – so let’s savor it!
9 – Don’t think the long break means we forgot about that Cucho Hernández hat trick at CF Montréal. Cucho has had a fantastic season to date, and the perfect hat trick – a header and goals with both feet – was deserving for the No. 9. Cucho produced the club’s first three-goal game since Gyasi Zardes in 2018, and the Colombian leads Columbus with nine goals and 10 assists through 20 league appearances in 2023. Cucho ranks fourth in the league in total assists, and he has three game-winning assists this season, tying him for seventh in the league. Since he joined the Crew, he’s scored a goal every other match. To put it simply: that is outstanding.
When They Last Met
A 2-2 draw was the result when the clubs met on May 13 at Lower.com Field. Darlington Nagbe and Jacen Russell-Rowe provided two first half goals, but the visitors scored twice in the second half – including the equalizer in the 92nd minute. Orlando won the last meeting at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 9, 2022 for Decision Day. The result gave the Lions a place in the playoffs, while the Crew ended its 2022 campaign.
Who: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC
When: Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium
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; Orlando City SC – third in Eastern Conference
Secure your seat to cheer on the reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field this season!