Comedian Bert Kreischer







Twenty One Pilots and Columbus, Ohio native Tyler Joseph





Indycar Racer and Columbus, Ohio native Graham Rahal





Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers




Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp




PGA Tour golfer Jason Dufner



Manchester United former star, English women's head coach Phil Neville





And I think even though he's not donning a Crew shirt or scarf you have to throw in 



His famous track has actually been remixed as a Columbus Crew supporter chant in the Nordecke fan section for years before the above video. So a bit serendipitous. 




If I'm missing anyone all ears.





 COLUMBUS CREW (4-0-1)- 13 POINTS / GF: 9 GA: 1 

VS. 

 MINNESOTA UNITED (3-0-2)- 11 POINTS / GF: 12 GA: 6

In the mental pregames, after being paired up with the Columbus Crew in the Round of 16, Minnesota's Head Coach Adrian Heath stated "everyone's crowned them champions already."

Major League Soccer must have missed that memo. 


United's Adrian Heath takes some blame for massive defensive struggles –  Twin Cities

Regardless, Minnesota United has been more than just okay in 2020. They've scored twelve goals compared to the Columbus Crew's nine.

Columbus has gained one more win compared to MNUFC's one more tie; however Minnesota, 

The Loons in 2020 have beat the Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, and Sporting Kansas City. Portland has been crowned by some to win this tournament. Whereas both San Jose and Kansas City are still alive in the Round of 16.

To add more fire to the proverbial torch, some players that you wouldn't want to warm up are starting to get toasty. 

Last time out former Columbus Crew winger Ethan Finlay scored two goals in a 2-2 tie against the Colorado Rapids. 

Further, Minnesota was far from a complete team with Kevin Molino missing from action. 


"This is the best team we've played so far this season," stated Caleb Porter.

Wouldn't say the above statement is a mental mind game. 

CREW LINEUP & TACTICS, MNUFC LINEUP-

Where the Columbus Crew can make it happen though on Tuesday is in attack. 

Minnesota is without 2019 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara in this tournament. MNUFC has been a lot better than others (especially LAFC) defensively. Yet they have had their most suspect showing last time out.

The following is who I expect to see the Crew trotting out:


Columbus has had injury concerns but their depth has shown brightly. 

At the end of last season, everyone wondered what was the point in signing a 4th goalkeeper in Andrew Tarbell? Well that was because he was really your #2. Looked very comfortable last time out taking over for Room. 

In addition, the stage hasn't been too massive for 20 year old Crew homegrown player Aboubucar Keita. His unexpected 8 starts during the 2019 season due to injury has built him into a brick wall next to Jonathan Mensah. His mobility, speed at center back is a plus as well.

Minnesota last time out went with the following.


They'll be stronger in midfield with the re-addition of Kevin Molino. Further, MNUFC should start Aaron Scheonfeld who has looked bright off the bench and would be up to put one over on Columbus as well.

Game Result:

Minnesota will give Columbus some issues but don't believe they have the answers defensively to deal with Zardes, Zelarayan, and company. 

2-0 win for Columbus (goals by Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes)

My Man of the Match is our Captain Jonathan Mensah 
Columbus currently have 8 goals forwarded and 1 allowed. Everyone has stepped up when their number has been called.

At full health, we have Afful, Mensah, Wormgoor, and Valenzuela. With Cadden, Keita, Williams, Francis, and Jimenez to come in. Don't find that, that suspect?




Just FYI, the Portland Timbers were at 3 goals forwarded and 4 goals allowed four games into their 2015 season . -1, were at +7, allowing one goal in four games in 2020 so go continue to prove a point Crew defense. πŸ‘




ELOY ROOM (7): Has to get a 7 as long as he keeps getting shutouts, even though he didn't face a shot. πŸ˜…

CHRIS CADDEN (6): A 6 is probably harsh as him and Santos connected for just about all the attacks of the first half on the right side. But it improves.

I think it took all new guys (Cadden, Berhalter, Etienne) either 20 minutes or a half to get going.

JOSH WILLIAMS (7): Next guy in. Has 131 appearances overall for the Columbus Crew. Nice to see at 32 hasn't lost his ability to contribute big. 

JONATHAN MENSAH (8): Put Keita and Afful next to me. Put Cadden and Williams next to me the following game. No problem. Two shutouts. Glad we have him as captain because not sure I would call Trapp a leader in the same sense as not getting into anyone's face, bit quiet.

HECTOR JIMENEZ (7): So you are what may be considered the third choice left back and you have helped make two shutouts in two games happen. πŸ‘

With 127 appearances since 2014 has carved out quite the Crew career. 

SEBASTIAN BERHALTER (6): Think Berhalter started out under pressure as NYRB highlighted the 19 year old as someone to attack when on the ball. But a hell of a 60 minutes for a 19 year old. I'll take more please.

DARLINGTON NAGBE (8): Just so good. About his heatmap all game:
Image

DERRICK ETIENNE JR. (6): This goes way up if he set his feet and finished that first half chance but goes up in the 2nd half. Grew into the game.

PEDRO SANTOS (7.5, assist): So back on the field finally and in the first half lays up a perfect assist for Zardes. Okay.

LUCAS ZELARAYAN (7): Did his usual good stuff. Goes up of course in the second half. 

GYASI ZARDES (8): Four goals in four games, first Crew player to do that since Brian McBride. 

Gyasi's finishing has just been on an upgraded level so far this year. If it continues and the games continue, big year ahead.



ELOY ROOM (8): Just gets an 8 for somehow getting through those last 10 minutes and still getting a shutout.

CHRIS CADDEN (8): Was awesome overall. Definitely will be useful.

JOSH WILLIAMS (7)

JONATHAN MENSAH (9): Just excellent defending. MOTM 

HECTOR JIMENEZ (8): Such a use for Columbus overall. 

AIDAN MORRIS (7): Had a great 23 minutes. Had some good tackles, really went for things. Was no extreme drop off even with Nagbe out. Think deserves a start as well in next game.

ARTUR (6): Nothing bad but nothing super notable. 

LUIS DIAZ (6): Same, nothing bad but nothing super notable.

DERRICK ETIENNE JR. (8): Definitely grew into the game as it went along. Had a wonderful run down the left side and instead of being greedy, sat on the ball, and then set up Zelarayan with a brillant pass for the goal to give Columbus some comfort.

If a player can get a goal or an assist in most Crew games you're doing good. 

LUCAS ZELARAYAN (8.5): Has to go up a bit with that 2nd half goal.

YOUNESS MOKHTAR (7.5): Would've received a 10 if his one magic dribble and chip went in. But regardless nice substitute appearance again. Really starting to grow into this team.

FANENDO ADI (6): Hey what can you really do in 8 minutes? Just glad to see him. Hope Adi gets an opportunity to make some impression before we can't afford him any longer.

OVERALL: ROOM (7.5), CADDEN (7), WILLIAMS (7), MENSAH  (8.5), JIMENEZ (7.5), NAGBE (8), ARTUR (6), BERHALTER (6), MORRIS (7), ETIENNE JR. (7), SANTOS (7.5), DIAZ (6), MOKHTAR (7.5), LUCAS ZELARAYAN (7.75), ZARDES (8), ADI (6)


 COLUMBUS CREW (2-0-1)- 7 POINTS / GF: 6 GA: 1 

VS. 

 NEW YORK RED BULLS (2-0-1)- 7 POINTS / GF: 5 GA: 3

Thanks to Kaka's brillant pass that led to a simple finish from Florian Valot (ask Agudelo, Chicharito how simple, a simple finish really is) the New York Red Bulls 4th minute strike in their #MLSisBack opener was enough.

NYRB are ready to be crowned legends.

In contrast, a common and perhaps irritating question occurs for Columbus. Is Columbus really that good or are Dutch Lions Cincinnati just that bad?

See:

Well think if you are going to point that question at the Columbus Crew, who tied the reigning Champions away (50 months ago?), you have to ask the same of NYRB. 

New York Red Bulls limped by FC Cincinnati at home in their season opener, tied Real Salt Lake on the road, and then with one or two more usual starters Saturday beat a Josef Martinez-less Atlanta United. 

Further NYRB have been questionable defensively at times. 

In their Game 1 of the tournament, NYRB loses if Atlanta United's Bello and company could finish. Atlanta United had more chances (14 shots to 6) and well more of everything (70% possession, 590 passes to 262, and won every other statistic but fouls and clearances).



Yet who won? 

Therefore, the team that puts it together on Thursday night will defer questions for a while on whether or not they are good.

"We'll see how good we are." -Caleb Porter

Red Bulls, Crew Lineup and Tactics

Long, Kaka, and Royer are the only players on NYRB's Game 1 roster that I would rate highly. 

Never heard of Tom Barlow or three of their other players.

New York just randomly have players come up from their academy and it works for them. They won their opener regardless, dangerous no matter if their keeper looks like...



Sure Atlanta completed over two times the amount of passes in Game 1 compared to NYRB.

And maybe all of NYRB's possession in the Game 1 incapsulated their goal drive.

But it worked. So more of the same. Doesn't have to be pretty and rarely is for them.



Columbus will be looking a bit different (at least in a Wormgoor sense):



I'm also guessing either Valenzuela or Francis will be good to go tomorrow.

If Pedro Santos is good to go I would still give Mokhtar the start as Youness had a strong first game with a goal. 

Perhaps instead give Santos the start in Game 3. When Columbus could already be qualified.

Game Result:

Atlanta had their chances against NYRB in Game 1. But, they couldn't finish.

Gyasi Zardes in Game 1 against FC Cincinnati had 2 shots, 2 goals. 

If Zardes and the rest of Columbus can continue that I see another W. 

2-0 win for Columbus (goals by Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes)
MOTM has a ⭐ by his name


1. GYASI ZARDES 

A few of the missed goal scoring opportunities so far from around the league in this tournament:




Confused why Atlanta United took the following miss as a good thing?

Have been multiple comparable gaffes in this tournament so far.

In contrast, Zardes has 2 shots in this tournament, 2 goals.

Zardes had a six goal drop off from 19 goals in 2018 with the Columbus Crew, to 13 goals in 2019. 

In 2020, 3 games in Zardes has 3 goals.

Zardes is likely content with Cincinnati randomly coming up as the third game this season. 

Zardes's second goal against Cincinnati wasn't an easy finish. Was a perfect first touch:

His first goal against Cincinnati was a chance that should be finished but unlike a lot of others in this tournament it was.

Especially with the addition of Zelarayan service, if the amount of games is anything like a regular season can see a 20 goal plus season for Zardes with relative ease

Excellent start. 

2. Youness Mokhtar 

Quietly had a great game. 

Youness had two great turnovers defensively early on when FC Cincinnati were still in the game. 

A lot of smart decisions, touches throughout. 

And a smooth finish. 

Didn't have a chance to get completely online, comfortable last year in half a season. See Mokhtar playing a bigger role in 2020.

⭐ 3. LUCAS ZELARAYAN 

Even though Zelarayan doesn't play for LAFC or Atlanta United, should have Goal of the Week. 

Could be hard for Major League Soccer but can't ignore obvious perfection. Can you?



Zelarayan was a handful even without the goal and the assist. 

Will give him the as his goal was the catalyst for the Crew's big win.

He is what a Designated Player should be. 

FC Cincinnati should take notes as Yuya Kubo or Siem de Jong. Um yikes. 

4. Jonathan Mensah

4-0 win with 3rd choice left back, 3rd choice center back, no Pedro Santos, four or five other players missing, two homegrown players making their debut. 

Jonathan Mensah is now the Columbus Crew captain and couldn't disagree at all.

Vito goes down. You don't have Valenzuela or his backup Francis (good work by Hector Jimenez btw). No problem. Shutout.

I think we will be successful regardless, a deeper team compared to the 2019 version but just wanted to say thank you MLS. 

That's the sort of opponent you want to start with in this tournament, build from.

Think it will be difficult for FC Cincinnati to be as bad the next two games.  

5. Aboubacar Keita 

Vito injury 17 minutes in. 

Looks about as serious in below image, as it did on television:


But thankfully Aboubucar Keita is the real deal, quite mobile for a center back. Thought he had an excellent game on short notice.

Short notice games didn't work as great for some others.

Also Mensah was excellent as usual. Thought the two did well together. Deserving shutout.

Josh Williams, a guy several Crew fans have quite a lot of faith in, is now your third until Vito comes back.

Keep rolling.


The 26 year old Jonathan Borja was mentioned as a possible Columbus Crew target in June. However was said at the time that Cruz Azul was attempting to acquire Borja full time, at the end of his loan with the Mexican club in December 2020 anyway.

Be that as it may the on loan Borja only played 13 minutes in the Mexican Clausura for Cruz Azul in 2020. 

The midfielder perhaps would've been more involved eventually; but as goes with the rest of the world the Mexican season was delayed in March too.

Most of the Ecuadorian's 154 minutes with La Maquina came in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 against Jamaica's Portmore United in February. 

In that Borja scored one of the six Cruz Azul goals as the Mexican side beat the Jamaican side 6-1 over two legs. 




Regardless of limited play in January and February, Cruz Azul's June plan was to sign Borja at end of loan so that they could trade him off to another Mexican team. 

Now Cruz Azul wants to move Borja to open up an international spot for another attacking player. 

Which depending on which Mexican article you read...

Borja could be back with El Nacional in the next few days and then onto Columbus. 

As El Nacional apparently wants to do a deal with the MLS and the Columbus Crew for Borja right away:



Or perhaps according to another article Borja will play out his Cruz Azul loan until December and then transfer to Columbus in January 2021. 




The 26 year old Borja can play anything in midfield. Either as the attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder, or left or right midfielder.

His breakdown of positions at El Nacional overall.



His best season for El Nacional and in his career was in 2019. When Borja scored 11 goals, had 5 assists in 27 appearances in midfield for El Nacional. 

His positions played during that 2019 season:



Some highlights during that year:


Borja also has one recent cap with Ecuador last September.
Saturday at 10:30 PM on FS1



 COLUMBUS CREW (1-0-1)- 4 POINTS / GF: 2 GA: 1 

VS. 

 FC CINCINNATI (0-2-0)- 0 POINTS / GF: 3 GA: 5


The Columbus Crew will kickoff for the first time in 125 days on Saturday against FC Cincinnati. 

No one could have seen this when we played NYCFC in the opener on March 1st.

But here we are in a stadium that looks like the outfield in Major League II.

What's next?  Are we gonna name the <A TARGET=_blank HREF=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Field><i>stadium</i></A> after an insurance company?!

So what is new with FCC since the last time the Columbus Crew dismantled them on August 25th, 2019?



A superfluity of Dutch things... 

FCC signed a Dutch GM in Gerard Nijkamp, who then signed two Dutch designated players in Siem de Jong and Jurgen Locadia. Then FCC eventually had to replace their first Dutch coach Ron Jans (for a racial slur) with a second Dutch coach in Jaap Stam.


5 ClichΓ©s about the Dutch that are absolutely true – DutchReview
A look into FCC's boot room.

The fact that FC Cincinnati looks like a conventional and rather less stimulating version of Amsterdam is unsurprising. Since FCC are half owned by the Dayton Dutch Lions owners I believe.

For one, Dayton Dutch Lions previous head coach Ivar van Dinteren (also Dutch) is now FCC's assistant coach. For two, just check out FCC's lion logo and colors.

If I ever have a MLS Ancient Alien-like conspiracy theory series, will make it on there. 😁

I guess to mix things up a bit, after setting the world alight in FC Nurnberg with a goal in 22 games, FCC signed Japanese designated player and forward Yuya Kubo.


Fernando Torres: Chelsea Striker's 15 Funniest Memes | Football ...
Can see why that would catch FCC's attention.


All three of FC Cincinnati's DP's haven't been that remarkable in a few years with Siem de Jong taking the cake. Last time he was notable was in 2014 with Ajax.

Despite all of their attempts so far FC Cincinnati in 2020 has done what they have had a penchant for being good at.

Losing.

Crew Lineup and Tactics

The biggest win for the Columbus Crew is that they are still in this tournament after having one player test positive for COVID-19.

If I was a betting man a few weeks back would've put my money on that one positive test turning into five and then nine akin to FC Dallas or Nashville. 



But since that one positive the Columbus Crew have had five rounds of testing and every other test has come back negative.

Luckily that one player, whose identity hasn't been revealed, has been asymptomatic.

Can tell you from images of last nights #MLSIsBlack 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence and respect for George Floyd who it isn't.

Gyasi Zardes, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful, Eloy Room, Darlington Nagbe, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne Jr. are all good.

May also be Aboubacar Keita hanging out next to Ezra Hendrickson in the background,

Image
Image

Don't think I saw in any images Fanendo Adi or Jordan Hamilton? Not sure what else could be that pressing in the hotel to miss out on a pretty excellent demonstration. 

But Hamilton has been pretty busy on social media. Posted this a couple days back...




So my hot money currently is on Adi.

Unsure why it's a secret? I know some pretty awesome people that have caught COVID. But, hey could be a weird tactic to keep the opponent guessing, unsure what lineup they are going to get? πŸ˜…

My expected lineup for Saturday:




FC Cincinnati Projected Starters: Spencer Richey, Greg Garza, Kendall Waston, Maikel van der Werff, Mathieu Deplagne, Haris Medunjanin, Frankie Amaya, Yuya Kubo, Allan Cruz, Joseph-Claude Gyau, Jurgen Locadia.

Game Result:

I'm pretty confident that Columbus wins a game they need to win to set the stage in a pretty tough rest of the group.

FC Cincinnati has already allowed five goals to the Columbus one so far in 2020. So as long as Columbus presses think they win comfortably.


2-0 win for Columbus (goals by Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes)