TODAY'S STARTING XI
CREW SC REACHES EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL FOR EIGHTH TIME IN CLUB HISTORY
This is the eighth time in Club history that Crew SC has reached the Conference Final and the third time in the last half-decade (2015, 2017, 2020), having also previously reached this stage from 1997- 1999, 2002 and 2008. The last time the Club had an opportunity to advance to MLS Cup in a Conference Final-deciding match played in Columbus was in 2008 when the Club defeated the Chicago Fire before going on to capture its first MLS Cup trophy in the title match against the New York Red Bulls.
PORTER AMONG MLS COACHES WITH HIGHEST WINNING PLAYOFF WINNING PERCENTAGES
There are only five coaches in Major League Soccer’s 25-year history that have achieved a postseason winning percentage of 60 percent or greater while also possessing seven or more playoff victories. Two of the coaches on that list will be on the sidelines this Sunday as Crew SC Head Coach Caleb Porter and Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena lead their teams into the single-elimination contest. Crew SC’s 2-0 victory over Nashville SC on Sunday marked Head Coach Caleb Porter’s seventh MLS Cup Playoffs victory, bringing his playoff winning average to 0.643. Porter’s playoff winning percentage is the fourth highest in League history among coaches who have notched six or more wins in postseason action.
CREW SC CONTINUES STRONG RUN OF FORM AT MAPFRE STADIUM
In 2020, Crew SC has posted a record of 11-1-0 across all competitions when playing at MAPFRE Stadium - more wins when playing at its home stadium than any other team across the MLS regular season and the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. Since the beginning of the 2020 regular season, the Black & Gold have outscored their opponents 25-8. Crew SC hosts the New England Revolution at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday for the Eastern Conference Final match. Should the Crew advance, it would mark the third time the Club has reached MLS Cup, having won the title in 2008 and finished as runners-up in 2015. Notably, in the first year of a straight single-elimination bracket format last year for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, the home team advanced in nine of 13 total match-ups.
ZARDES: TOP AMERICAN GOAL SCORER IN MLS SINCE 2018
Since the beginning of the 2018 MLS regular season, no American player has scored more goals in the League than forward Gyasi Zardes. The 29-year-old has tallied 44 goals in 81 regular-season appearances (80 starts) for Crew SC, the fourth-most goals in MLS regular-season action over that same span.
ZARDES AND ZELARAYAN ON THREE-MATCH TALLYING STREAK
Crew SC's duo of Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan have both registered either a goal or an assist in each of the Club's last three matches. Zardes has registered three goals and one assist in the Crew's last three matches, including game-winning goals against Atlanta United (November 8) and the New York Red Bulls (November 21) as well as the game-winning assist against Nashville SC (November 29). Similarly, Zelarayan has tallied one goal and three assists over his last three matches, including game-winning assists against the Red Bulls (November 21) and Nashville SC (November 29).
COLUMBUS CREW SC HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME
Crew SC currently holds a record of 5-2-1 dating back to a regular-season home match against New York City FC (October 18) through its recent Eastern Conference Semifinal win against Nashville SC (November 29). Comparatively, in the last two seasons, all four teams that went on to reach MLS Cup (Seattle Sounders had two or fewer losses heading into their respective Conference Finals.