Crew-New York City FC Preview
Caleb Porter is in no doubt that Columbus Crew will improve as the season goes on as they aim to get out of a mini rut at New York City FC on Saturday.
The defending MLS Cup champions have lost back-to-back matches without scoring - 2-0 to Toronto FC and 1-0 to New England Revolution - and have won just once in seven games in all competitions.
Porter's side are 11th in the Eastern Conference and also recently exited the CONCACAF Champions League at the quarter-final stage with an aggregate defeat to Monterrey.
Adam Buska's 86th-minute goal condemned the Crew to their latest defeat last weekend, but coach Porter is hopeful that a rare week's rest will help his side turn things around.
"I'm confident we can build on the last game against New England. We'll keep growing, and we're going to stay focused on the process and improving," he said.
"It's a 34-game season and this is our fifth game. We know we need to pick up some wins on the road - I'm confident we will - but I'm excited to keep improving and to have a full week to train for New York City.
"We're going to keep getting better, there's no doubt about that, and I hope we get healthier as well because that will help."
City have played out successive 1-1 draws, following on the back of wins against FC Cincinnati and Philadelphia Union, placing them third in the Eastern Conference after five games.
The Pigeons have this week strengthened their squad with the signing of Brazilian teenager Talles Magno from Vasco da Gama, which head coach Ronny Deila believes is a huge coup for the club.
"I'm very happy to get Talles into the club," he said. "I think it's a big recognition for our club to get talents like him wanting to come to us and see this as a pathway to take out his potential.
"He's played 70-80 games in a top division in Brazil, and he's only 18 years old. For me, that's the perfect signing.
"When you get a good quality player with a potential that he can be much better than he is now, then we have succeeded in the signing in my opinion."
New York City FC - Valentin Castellanos
As well as bringing in Magno, City also obtained a visa for Thiago Andrade this week and they will look to get both attacking players up to speed as soon as possible. For now, though, they are still relying on Castellanos to lead their line and the Argentina Under-23s international can be happy with his return of four goals in five outings so far this term.
Columbus Crew - Bradley Wright-Phillips
Former New York Red Bulls forward Wright-Phillips is yet to get off the mark in five MLS appearances for the Crew, but he has a great record against New York City FC. The 36-year-old scored 12 goals against City during his time with the Red Bulls - only Kei Kamara (against CF Montreal) has scored more goals against a single opponent since NYCFC debuted in 2015.
- Columbus won its first match at New York City FC, 2-1, in August 2015, but NYCFC has won five of the six meetings in New York since (D1, incl. playoffs).
- The home team has won each of the last four meetings between these teams.
- New York drew 1-1 with Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, ending a three-match home winning streak. NYCFC has not gone consecutive home matches winless since opening the 2019 season with three straight draws at home.
- Columbus recorded its second straight away defeat, losing 1-0 at New England on Sunday. The Crew are winless in a club record 15 straight away matches (D7 L8) - the longest active away winless run in MLS.
- The Crew's three goals through five matches are tied for the fewest ever scored by a defending MLS Cup champion, along with LA Galaxy in 2003.
Updated May 21, 2021