By The Numbers pres. by Ohio Business Machines | Crew at Chicago Fire on Saturday | Columbus Crew
Lionel Messi mania has overtaken the Major League Soccer community, and rightly so. But let’s not get lost and lose sight of the Columbus Crew’s quiet climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
While all of us await more news of arguably soccer’s greatest joining the league, it’s time to turn our attention toward the Crew’s Saturday night clash with long-time rival Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field.
33 – Winners of two straight, the Black & Gold enter this weekend leading the league with 33 goals scored to date. In those two most recent wins, Columbus has a combined seven goals. The point is: this team is built for aggressive, attacking soccer, and it’s no surprise the side is getting hot as Cucho Hernández is in form. Cucho has either a goal or an assist in his last seven starts, and has scored in consecutive games. To date, he has three goals and seven assists. Lucas Zelarayán has seven goals and assists, and Christian Ramirez enters the contest with five goals and an assist. His brace last Saturday helped the team beat Charlotte FC, 4-2, and now the trio are hoping to carry their momentum into Chicagoland.
1.5 — Averaging 1.5 points per match, the Crew currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and has one game left before the midway point in the 2023 regular season. Head coach Wilfried Nancy’s team has navigated through a variety of obstacles, including notable injuries and in-match adversity. Yet, even when a number of first and second-year players in the squad, the Black & Gold have looked confident and comfortable. It’s important that continues into the final six matches until next month’s Leagues Cup break. This Columbus side is a work in progress that’s trending upward. That’s a great place to be in.
14 — Respectfully, the Fire been nothing more than a simmer to start 2023. On Tuesday night, the club lost, 4-1, at home to Houston Dynamo FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and Chicago is searching for its first league win since May 13. With 17 points from the first 16 games, the team sits 14th in the Eastern Conference standings. It’ll be interesting to see how Fire head coach Frank Klopas treats this match as his players have a shortened week and have only been under his leadership since May 8.
The last away meeting was a legendary debut for Cucho. On July 9, 2022, the Crew trailed, 2-0, at halftime at Soldier Field. Derrick Etienne Jr. scored two goals midway through the second half before Cucho produced the game winner in the 83rd minute for Columbus to claim all three points in a wild 3-2 comeback win. The teams met at Lower.com Field in September and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Who: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire FC
When: Saturday, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET
How to Listen: 97.1 HD3/The Fan Stream, La Mega 103.1 FM
Current Standings: Columbus Crew – Fifth in Eastern Conference; Charlotte FC – 14th in Eastern Conference