The Columbus Crew return to Mapfre Stadium after earning one point in two road matches, so the chance they overlook one of the worst teams in Major League Soccer is slim when they host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Colorado (6-16-6, 24 points) is tied with Orlando for the second-fewest points in MLS and was eliminated last weekend from qualifying for the Western Conference playoffs.
Meanwhile, Columbus (12-9-8, 44) holds a one-point advantage over the Philadelphia Union for fourth in the Eastern Conference with five matches to play and can’t afford a slip-up vs. Colorado.
“We know it will still be a difficult team,” Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said. “Sometimes when teams don’t have anything to play for, they play more free and they can give you some problems. We’re expecting a difficult game, and we have to be focused.”
The Crew tied 0-0 in Dallas last Saturday and lost 3-2 at Portland on Wednesday with a lineup that favored rest over results with Federico Higuain, Justin Meram and the team’s leading scorer, Gyasi Zardes (15 goals), not playing.
“It’s important for us to get home to recover, and to understand that it’s a big game at home for us to win,” Crew captain Wil Trapp said.
Colorado has lost four straight, all by shutouts, and has a goalless streak of 368 minutes.
“We’re not going to lie, the staff and players are all disappointed,” Colorado coach Anthony Hudson said. “However, underneath that, underneath the disappointment of recent results, everyone is incredibly positive by how we’re approaching games, confident that we’re definitely working in the right way.”
Trapp knows what’s at stake.
“We have to step onto the field with an intensity and level of focus that transcends the fatigue and understand that they’re going to try and play spoiler,” he said.
—Field Level Media