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Preview: Columbus Crew SC vs. Minnesota United | MLS is Back Tournament, Round of 16

2020 MLS is Back Tournament – Round of 16
Columbus Crew SC vs. Minnesota United
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Tues., July 28 – 8 PM ET

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes; TSN, in Canada

STREAMING: ESPN App; TSN App in Canada

The best team in the tournament so far will meet one of 2019’s most improved outfits in what should prove to be an intriguing matchup between two teams that will feel like they have a real shot at the title. The so-far-dominant Crew (4W-0L-1D) may be favorites, but Adrian Heath’s Minnesota (3W-0L-2D) have shown time and again over the last year that they are not to be counted out.

The two teams have met just three times prior, with Columbus holding a slight 2W-0D-1L advantage over their Western Conference opponents in MLS play. However, the Loons won their most recent meeting, on May 19, 2019, with none other than former Crew winger Ethan Finlay, also a two-goal scorer against Colorado on Wednesday night, getting the winner. The two squads have never met in postseason or Open Cup play.

Columbus Crew SC

The Crew have played pretty passing soccer, comfortably dispatched two Eastern Conference powers (albeit ones that seem to be sliding in 2020) and put up the tournament’s joint-largest margin of victory to date, all while rotating their squad. There have been a few injury questions in the team, but the star trio of Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes are all playing at a high level and do not seem ready to let up anytime soon.

Project Starting XI

Updated team roster

  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Vito Wormgoor (D) - ankle surgery
    • QUESTIONABLE: Eloy Room (GK) - hamstring injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Minnesota United

The Loons, who launched themselves into the league’s upper echelon in 2019 but are without reigning Defender of the Year Ike Opara for the MLS is Back Tournament, have had a solid, if not fully convincing showing in Orlando so far. They posted a memorable comeback win in their opener against Sporting Kansas City, which ultimately proved crucial to their advancement, and looked good value for the draws they earned in their final two group games. They may need to hit another gear to beat Columbus, though.

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Ike Opara (D) - undisclosed
    • QUESTIONABLE: Kevin Molino (M) - left hamstring injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Series Matchup

  • Crew SC: 2 wins, 4 goals
  • Minnesota United: 1 win, 3 goals
  • 0 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Allen Chapman
  • Assistant Referees: Jason White, Cory Richardson
  • 4th Official: Victor Rivas
  • VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr
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