‘A spectacle’ ahead when Crew, Orlando City meet

The Columbus Crew and host Orlando City look to continue their upward trends when they square off Saturday.

For the Crew (5-2-6, 21 points), it was a solid rebound last week with road wins against CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire, each by a 3-1 score, after a 2-1 home loss to rival FC Cincinnati on May 11.

“This is good for the confidence of the players,” Crew coach Wilfried Nancy said. “We knew we wanted to have a few wins but I’m more pleased about the way we’ve been playing depending on the different style of play we have.”

Orlando City (4-5-4, 16 points) are 2-0-1 since switching to a 3-5-2 formation.

“We know it’s going to be tough game against an opponent that is really difficult to play against, but at the same time we’re a difficult team to play against as well,” Orlando defender Rodrigo Schlegel said. “I think it’s going to be a beautiful game, a spectacle, but we have to make sure we do everything we can to make sure it turns out well for us.”

The Crew will be without star forward Cucho Hernandez (back soreness) for a third straight match and Nancy said he is unsure if he will be ready for the club’s June 1 matchup at CF Pachuca in the final of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Meanwhile, standout Orlando forward Duncan McGuire, who left the match last Saturday vs. the San Jose Earthquakes with a shoulder injury, is questionable.

Schlegel was in the spotlight the last time the teams played Nov. 26 in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinal in Orlando. He received a second yellow card in the 77th minute and the shorthanded Lions conceded two extra time goals in the 2-0 defeat.

“I don’t necessarily think it a situation of revenge, right?” Schlegel said. “Thing that happen in the previous games are things that happen in football.”

The Crew hopes to come out unscathed ahead of the Pachuca match. They lead MLS in fouls received with 211, 15 more than Portland.

“I have no problem when a team tries to kick us because that’s what football is,” Nancy said. “I like that because we have to find another tool in our game to win.”

— Field Level Media