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LAFC won’t have to face Columbus Crew SC’s Zack Steffen on Saturday

Goalkeeper suffers knee injury, won’t travel to Los Angeles.

MLS: Columbus Crew at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club will face Columbus Crew SC for the first time on Saturday, and while the game will likely be a big test for LAFC, they won’t have to face one of Columbus’ stars.

Andrew Erickson of the Columbus Dispatch reported on Thursday that Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen suffered a knee injury in training and will be unavailable against LAFC. Steffen will undergo an MRI and won’t travel to Los Angeles.

Steffen, 23, is a rising star in American soccer. With Columbus since 2016, he became the No. 1 for Gregg Berhalter last season, and his play in MLS has led to recent call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team. In fact, while it’s early, Steffen’s performances this year for the USMNT has led to speculation he could be the long-term No. 1 for his country.

In Steffen’s absence, Columbus are almost certainly going to start Jon Kempin. Kempin, 25, has only played three games this season, but he’s undefeated in those games, and he’s not exactly chopped liver. Kempin isn’t on Steffen’s level, but he could arguably be a starter for a handful of MLS teams at present instead of being a backup.

Will that matter on Saturday against LAFC? We’ll see, but any situation in which one of the best players on the opposing side won’t be playing, it can’t be a bad thing, right?

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