Columbus Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy has some tough decisions to make for the mid-week game against the LA Galaxy. Nancy has to balance picking up much-needed points on Wednesday, a rivalry game over the weekend and putting the team in a good position for a deep U.S. Open Cup run that continues next week. The dropped points against Orlando City SC on Saturday makes the lineup selection more difficult against the Galaxy.
Playmaker Lucas Zelarayan did not play in the last match, apparently due to match congestion. Center back Milos Degenek’s injury to his Achilles will keep him sidelined for 3-6 weeks. Winger Luis Diaz, midfielder Kevin Molino, center Josh Williams and goalkeeper Eloy Room are all out again for this game, despite Molino working with the full squad.
Keeping all of that in mind, let’s take a look at how we believe the Black & Gold will line up for this match.
With no word on when Room will be fully healthy, it is Patrick Schulte who will be the goalkeeper against the Galaxy. It is expected that LA will rotate its squad somewhat, but even if forward Chicharito Hernandez does not play, Dejan Joveljic has been a menace in front of goal and will certainly challenge Schulte.
With waning depth, the center back group will consist of Philip Quinton in the center while Gustavo Vallecilla will flank him to the right and Malte Amundsen will start on Quinton’s right. Steven Moreira is healthy enough to play, but Nancy will look to rotate Moreira so that he will be fully available against FC Cincinnati this weekend after scoring the late equalizer at TQL Stadium last season. It would not be a surprise if Moreira substituted in for Vallecilla so he does does not have to go the full 90 minutes.
Mohamed Farsi will continue to start as the right wing back. It is unlikely Farsi will get much relief until Diaz returns to full health. This will be the first real opportunity for Jimmy Medranda… probably… as he starts as a left wing back in this match. Yaw Yeboah has done well in the last couple matches, but with the match congestion, rest is needed. Coming into the season, many predicted Medranda to be the walk-in starter, but Will Sands challenged Medranda and claimed that spot. With Sands’ injury, it seemed likely that Medranda would fill in, but Yeboah has been the primary left wing back in Sands’ absence. The Crew even traded for left wing back Amundsen, who due to center back injuries has not played as a wing back. All this is to say, if Medranda does not start, it will fit the narrative of his time with the Black & Gold.
In midfield, Darlington Nagbe and Sean Zawadzki start with Aidan Morris coming in to relieve Nagbe at either halftime or the 60-minute mark. The Crew midfielders will be kept on their toes by Riqui Puig, who is one of the most dangerous players in MLS.
Zelarayan steps back into the lineup to ensure Columbus secures all three points. Joining the Armenian national team player will be Cucho Hernandez and Christian Ramirez as the two strikers. Expect Hernandez to be subbed off no later than the 60th minute mark.