1. Hector Villalba
Just as Martinez has a solid history against the Crew, so too does Hector Villalba. Although he is mostly known by Atlanta fans for his late-game heroics against rival Orlando City, Villalba is also a thorn in Columbus’s side.
In just 152 regular season minutes and three appearances against Columbus, Villalba has four(!) goals. That’s a goal every 38 minutes. Villalba has yet to play a full 90 minutes against Columbus in the regular season, but if he does on Sunday, then he’s technically on track to score at least two goals.
Villalba needs to score for himself just as much as he needs to for the team. His numbers are drastically down compared to last season, mostly due to injury. Last season Villalba started all 34 matches. This year, that number has dropped to only 13, appearing in a total of just 19. His average numbers are solid and comparable to last season, but his overall production is down from the lack of playing time.
Villalba is looking better every week, despite the battles with injury. He has an assist or goal in seven of the last nine matches, including an assist in three straight. His production to the team is irreplaceable and, with a strong performance on Sunday, we should see another Five Stripes victory.