MLS Decision Day is here, and the focus turns to Columbus, Ohio as the Columbus Crew SC will host DC United in the last regular season home game before the MLS Cup Playoffs get underway. Both teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs, but where they finish in the conference standings is still undetermined. United are currently sitting in second place in the East on 51 points while the Crew are one place behind them in third with 50 points to their name. Finishing in the top two in the conference carries extra significance in this postseason, as it means one will avoid the play-in round and give a bye into the Conference semifinals.
Columbus Crew SC will go into this game following a 2-0 victory over rivals Toronto FC, which also clinched the Trillium Cup for them. Although Crew SC will be without leading goal scorers Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain, this game should provide a perfect opportunity for Jack McInerney to showcase what he has the capability to do but has yet to show. In order to win, the team will have to rally around young gun players such as Ben Speas and Cedrick Mabwati. Crew SC will need to have that spark in them.
DC United are riding high into this weekend's matchup following a 4-0 annihilation of the Chicago Fire. DC could win this game if they have stellar performances from players such as Fabian Espindola, and Chris Rolfe. Solid showings from those two key players can guarantee a DC United win over Crew SC.
In the previous meeting between these two teams, United were victorious by a score of 2-1. Crew SC look to flip the tables when they play in front of their home crowd Sunday evening.
The official assigned to this match is the infamous Ismail Elfath.
Projected Lineup: Columbus Crew SC (4-2-3-1)
Projected Lineup: DC United (4-4-2)
Prediction: Both teams are fiery and ready to claim second spot. But Crew SC will be without two key players due to yellow card accumulation. Will they rally behind an adjusted XI, or will DC United take advantage and walk away with three points and second place?
Columbus Crew SC 1-1 DC United
Now let's take a look at what's at stake for the upcoming, "#DecisionDay." If Crew SC were to win, they would automatically secure the number two seed in the East, and advance with a bye into the conference semifinals.
If Crew SC were to draw, in all possible scenarios, with 75% of the predicted draw, they will play the New England Revolution. Now, if Crew SC were to lose, there's multiple possible opponents. One of them would be, Toronto FC who are in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
To take a better look, here's how different scenarios will be played out if Crew SC were to either draw, or lose. (Credit: John Bava III)
Draw Scenario 1
2. DC United, 52 points
3. Columbus Crew SC, 51 points
4. Toronto FC, 50 points
5. Montreal Impact, 49 points
6. New England Revolution, 48 points
Columbus Crew SC hosts the New England Revolution in the knockout round.
Lose Scenario 1
2. DC United, 54 points
3. Toronto FC, 52 points
4. New England Revolution, 50 points
5. Columbus Crew SC, 50 points
6. Montreal Impact, 48 points
New England Revolution hosts Columbus Crew SC in the knockout round.
Decision Day will be one weird day. But it will make for excellent soccer.