Williams: 'We know it’s a fortress here for us'

Crowd - 3.16.19 - Porter

What exactly goes into Columbus Crew SC’s home-field advantage?

“That would have to be something that you ask another team…I have always been on the winning side of things here.”

That was defender Josh Williams’ response when asked about what has been so integral to Crew SC’s League-leading success at MAPFRE Stadium dating back to 2017.

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The obvious factor, of course, is that home field is, well, home.

“To me, I think it’s just a comfort factor. We love playing at home,” Williams continued. “I mean, for us the pitch is always so nice and pristine. Anytime that we get on there, it’s like an excitement within the team. We know it’s a fortress here for us, but as far as other teams, I’m not sure.”

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Crew SC is undefeated at MAPFRE Stadium across all competitions dating back to June 13, 2018, posting a 9-0-2 record while outscoring opponents, 18-8.

Most notably, however, is the sustained success over multiple seasons, as no other team has earned more points at home since the start of the 2017 campaign. Since then, the Crew has posted a record of 27-5-8, tallying 89 points at MAPFRE Stadium while the Club’s 27 wins stands tied for first for most home wins.

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As successful as the Crew have been at home, the visitor’s road trends play an important role, as New England enters winless this season away from Gillette Stadium with an 0-1-1 record.

On the road, the Revs (1-3-1, 4 pts.) have garnered three goals on 14 shots (ex. blocks), with six landing on frame for a 43-percent shooting accuracy, a rate that stands in middle of the pack among the League. For New England, Carles Gil has been the main driver of their offensive production, totaling all three goals on six shots.

For Crew SC, the defensive effort has come to the forefront as the Club stands tied for second League-wide with only one home goal conceded. A key piece of that is goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who holds a 92-percent save percentage at MAPFRE Stadium.

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In line with Williams’ sentiments, Steffen attributed the atmosphere and the comfort of routine as a key factor in Columbus' success.

“I would say that for myself it’s that it is a comfort factor. Just being at home in MAPFRE and in front of your fans is awesome,” Steffen said. “You want to get as many points at home as you can and I didn’t know that stat, but I’m proud of that. And our goal is to get as many points at home as we can.”

Steffen is tied atop MLS with three shutouts in four appearances while his consecutive shutout-minutes streak currently stands at 354, though still short of his Club-record 525 minute streak set in 2018.

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Regardless, come Saturday, the Crew's collective presence will look to continue its recent success against the Revs following the Black & Gold's 2-0 road shutout on March 9 in Foxborough, Mass. Notably, Columbus has dropped just one of the last seven meetings against them.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 6 at MAPFRE Stadium. Please visit the broadcast page for recent updates on how to tune into the April 6 match.

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