MATCH PREVIEW: Columbus Crew hosts Nashville for first of two regular-season matchups

Wednesday marks the first meeting between the sides since 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals match

 

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew (5-3-5, 20 points) continues its home stretch at Lower.com Field and hosts Nashville SC (5-1-7, 22 points) tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21 [7:30 p.m. ET / Bally Sports Ohio / 97.1 FM The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrew.com (Spanish)] with coverage beginning on Bally Sports Ohio at 7:00 p.m. ET. Tickets for the match are available at columbuscrew.com/tickets.

 

Fans attending the match at Lower.com Field on Wednesday evening are encouraged to arrive early and pre-purchase their parking passes. Information on parking and alternative transportation options can be found here.

 

The Crew won the lone regular-season contest in 2020 against Nashville SC at Historic Crew Stadium (September 19). Second-half goals from midfielder Pedro Santos and forward Gyasi Zardes made the difference against Nashville, while goalkeeper Eloy Room made four saves, earning a shutout in the 2-0 victory. Additionally, the two sides met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, again played at Historic Crew Stadium (November 29). Santos and Zardes scored in the first half of extra time to give the Black & Gold a 2-0 win, helping them advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Post-game, following the match against Nashville SC, Columbus Crew Head Coach Caleb Porter and select Columbus Crew players will be available during a press conference in the press conference room at Lower.com Field.

The Crew and Nashville SC are sixth- and fifth-place in the Eastern Conference, respectively, and depending on how other mid-week matches around the League shake out, it could be a considerable swing for the short-handed Black & Gold as they look to extend their win streak against Nashville SC to three and overall unbeaten streak to five come Wednesday at Lower.com Field (7:30 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Ohio, 97.1 FM The Fan).

 

This will be the third meeting between Columbus and Nashville, with the Crew winning each of the first two matches, 2-0, at home, including in extra time in last season’s playoffs. Pedro Santos opened the scoring in both matches with each goal assisted by Gyasi Zardes while Zardes added the second goal in both games as well.

 

Following Saturday’s 2-1 win over New York City FC at Lower.com Field, Columbus has won 18 of their last 21 home matches (D2 L1) dating back to the last match of the 2019 season (including playoffs). The Crew’s 56 points from those 21 home matches equals the most by any team in a 21-game home span in the post-shootout era (since 2000).

 

In that match against NYCFC, Lucas Zelarayan scored the game-winning free kick, his fourth direct free kick goal of the season (his third against NYCFC). Only Sebastian Giovinco (7 in 2017, 5 in 2015) has scored more goals from direct free kicks in a single season since 2010.

 

As for Nashville, the 2020 expansion team scored a club-record five goals in its 5-1 win over Chicago on Saturday. The four-goal margin of victory was also the largest in club history.

 

Notably, Hany Mukhtar scored a hat-trick in a six-minute span in the first half vs. Chicago. Only Harut Karpetyan (5 minutes for LA Galaxy on June 4, 1998) has done so in a shorter time span in MLS history.

 

Kickoff on Wednesday night is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.