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Match Preview: Columbus Crew at FC Dallas

Photo by Joel Speyer

The Columbus Crew look to reverse a trend when they battle FC Dallas tonight at 8:30pm in Dallas. The Crew have fared poorly in road games south of the Mason-Dixon line in recent years, often against teams below them in the standings to make matters worse. In 2023, the Crew have lost 1-0 in Charlotte, 2-0 in Houston, tied a bad pre-Messi Inter Miami CF team 1-1 in Miami, and most recently lost 4-3 in Orlando.

The loss to Orlando City last Saturday was devastating, especially considering the Crew were leading 3-1 in the 70th minute. With a win the Crew would have leaped into second place. Instead, Columbus is virtually in fifth (tied with Philadelphia and New England for third, but each has a game in hand) with another road challenge ahead of them. Orlando City is in second place.

The Crew were able to lick their wounds Wednesday night against the Chicago Fire in the friendly confines of Field. Star forward Cucho Hernández scored a hat trick in the first 23 minutes of the match with two penalty shots and a header served up by winger Julian Gressel off a corner kick. The goals were scored in front of the Nordecke supporters’ section behind the north goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

It’s a quick turnaround for both teams. FC Dallas played Wednesday night as well, beating Real Salt Lake 3-1 behind a Jesus Ferreira brace. Ferreira has 12 goals on the season, one less than Cucho. Harry Mukhtar of Nashville SC leads all goal scorers with 15 goals on the season, but Ferreira and Cucho are both in the running for the Golden Boot with five matches remaining.

With the win against RSL, FC Dallas is back in the Western Conference playoff picture as the 9th place team. The 8th and 9th place teams have a one-game play-in for the opportunity to take on the #1 seed, currently held by St. Louis City.

The Crew have retooled their offense since trading away aging veteran #10 Lucas Zelarayán in July, bringing in Gressel from Vancouver and #10 Diego Rossi from the Turkish league. The offense looks more fluid and Cucho is playing in his natural #9 position which is leading to more scoring opportunities. Columbus has a lethal offense and leads Major League Soccer with 60 goals scored on the season.

If you’re in Columbus and interested in watching the match, there will be competition for bar space as Ohio State takes on Notre Dame tonight at 7:30 in a prime-time college football game. The Nordecke supporters will be watching the Crew-FC Dallas match at Endeavor Brewing & Spirits in Grandview. Land Grant Brewing in Franklinton will be televising the match in the taproom and the Ohio State game in the beer garden.


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