3:30 p.m. at Columbus Crew • FSN, 1500-AM
Preview: The Loons, already eliminated from playoff contention, face Columbus at Mapfre Stadium on Sunday in the final regular-season game with a dubious distinction possible. Columbus (13-11-9, sixth in the Eastern Conference) likely needs to win to ensure a place in the playoffs with the Montreal Impact just two points behind. If United (11-19-3, ninth in the West) loses 2-0, the team would finish with the same points (36), goals allowed (70) and goal differential (-23) as the first season. Two other teams have allowed more goals this year, including Orlando City SC at 73, which breaks United’s record from 2017 for most goals conceded in a MLS season. Columbus only recently learned new ownership would keep the team in Columbus after a year of uncertainty about a move to Austin. So this first home game after that decision is bound to be poignant.
Quotable: “We owe it all to Montreal to go there and try and keep the integrity of the competition because we would expect the same if we were in Montreal’s position. So we will go there, and I can assure them, we’re going to try as hard as we can. Now, we’re going to have to play better than we have of late. But it’s a big game for the Crew for a lot of different reasons as well. So they’ll be a lot of emotion on the day.” – United coach Adrian Heath.
Numbers: Columbus F Gyasi Zardes is tied for fifth in the league with 16 goals this season.
Injuries: For United, G Bobby Shuttleworth (back) and G Alex Kapp (hamstring) are out. M Harrison Heath, M Alexi Gomez and goalkeeping coach John Pascarella are suspended. For Columbus, M Mike Grella (knee) is out while D Jonathan Mensah is suspended.