Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Saturday, June 23rd, 7:30pm PT
How to Watch: YouTube TV and UniMás 46 in Los Angeles blackout zone; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.
This game will be a game of contrasts: Offense vs. Defense, West vs. East, The Black and Gold against the, well, Black and slightly lighter shade of Gold.
Okay, so maybe they aren’t all contrasts. Still, LAFC’s main strength of their side is their fierce attack, while the Columbus Crew have a very stout defense.
Still, this shouldn’t lull anyone into thinking Columbus will just bunker and occasionally venture forward.
Columbus like to build from the back, and their 4-2-3-1 system under Gregg Berhalter has been able to generate great chances for a host of strikers over the years, from Kei Kamara to Ola Kamara, and now Gyasi Zardes. Sam Stejskal has a piece on MLSsoccer.com detailing how the Crew get the very best out of their strikers
The latest in this series of successful strikers is former Galaxy striker Zardes. Zardes has been rejuvenated in Columbus, having scored 10 goals already this season.
He will be the key man LAFC needs to watch, especially close to goal, as most of his goals have come in close.
Federico Higuain is also a danger man for Columbus, both as a finisher but more as a creator.
On the other hand, LAFC will have to crack Columbus’ tough defense.
This task will be made slightly easier by the fact that Zack Steffen, Crew SC’s star young goalkeeper, will be out due to a knee injury.
Still, the defenders are solid, and Wil Trapp, Crew SC’s defensive midfielder, is having a very good season.
LAFC will have their hands full trying to pierce Crew SC’s defense, but LAFC have scored seven goals in their last two games played, so even without Marco Ureña and Carlos Vela, they are finding ways to put the ball in the net.
Prediction: LAFC 2, Crew SC 2. Diego Rossi builds off his great game in the U.S. Open Cup, but Gyasi Zardes scores again and the two teams share the points in this game.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!