Columbus Crew Vs Minnesota United: 3 things to watch for – Cup contenders clash

Columbus Crew (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Columbus Crew (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

On Tuesday night, the Columbus Crew face Minnesota United in the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament. Here are three things to watch for.

The knockout stages have served up some pretty fun drama thus far, and it could get even better on Tuesday night when two of the best teams in the competition face one another.

Between the Columbus Crew and Minnesota United, there is no shortage of fun matchups on the pitch. You can even argue the tactical battle in the dugout is worth a watch as Caleb Porter and Adrian Heath look to get one over each other. It is very rare that opening round knockout matches are exciting as this, but that is precisely what we have in store here.

Here are three things to watch for.

MLS, Columbus Crew, Youness Mokhtar
MLS, Columbus Crew, Youness Mokhtar (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

3. A true marquee matchup

After smashing their Hell Is Real rivals FC Cincinnati 4-0, the Columbus Crew appeared to be the team to beat in the entire MLS is Back completion. They topped Group E a 100% record, the only team to win all of their group games, and did not even concede a goal.

In Minnesota United, however, the Crew face a genuine threat to their cup aspirations. While Minnesota didn’t qualify as group winners, they have impressed going unbeaten in a difficult group. In fact, both teams are unbeaten this year with Columbus topping the Supporters’ Shield standings and Minnesota behind in third.

New signing Lucas Zelarayan has been nothing short of sensational and a brilliant piece of business by the Crew. His abilities have aided the attack, led by Gyasi Zardes who’s averaging a goal a game. They’re also aided by a defense that has four clean sheets in five games this season.

The Loons, meanwhile have looked wonderful in attack with Ethan Finlay a bright spot after his brace against Colorado. They’ll be aided by the return of Kevin Molino, the key midfielder who scored against Sporting KC before being subbed off against Real Salt Lake. The 30-year-old didn’t feature against Colorado but he adds another dimension to the team’s attack and may be the needed X-factor. Besides the rematch between LAFC and Seattle, then, Columbus against Minnesota serves a true marquee matchup in the Round of 16 slate.