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Preview: Minnesota United versus Columbus Crew

The Loons head to Columbus for their final match of the season, and we have a 3 question Q/A with Massive Report.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Match

  • Kickoff is at 3:30 on Fox Sports north
  • Pregame show at 3:00 with Cal, Kyndra and Jamie
  • Can the loons play spoiler on Columbus’s playoff hopes?

The Loons are heading to Columbus for their final match of the season, and are hoping to play heart-breaker for a Columbus side that has endured so much over the past year.

Minnesota United (11-3-19) has lost their last three matches, received three red cards in their last five, and has 8 goals in their last six matches while conceding 14.

Columbus (13-9-11) have won once in their past six matches, and are coming off of a loss against Orlando. So yeah, that speaks for itself.

Columbus and Montreal are both competing for the final playoff spot of the Eastern conference, with the Crew having 50 points and Montreal having 48. A loss from Columbus and a win from Montreal would see the Canadian side move above them.

We spoke with our sister-site from Columbus, Massive Report, about today’s match and their current club situation.

1.) How do you and the rest of Massive Report feel about the possibility of losing Berhalter to the USMNT gig?

MR: I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone locally, frankly. It’s been a poorly kept secret that Berhalter is taking the job for a while. I think Crew fans are accepting of that. Although Berhalter hasn’t won trophies, the Eastern Conference title aside, in his time in Columbus, most Black & Gold fans appreciate what he’s accomplished. Seeing him go on to the U.S. National Team is a sense of pride I believe for most Crew SC fans.

It will be interesting to see where Columbus goes from here, especially with the new ownership, when it comes to the next head coach. Without a firm announcement from MLS on the new ownership group, there’s no one to make a hire as available coaches get jobs. It’s needless to say but it will be a new start for Crew SC heading into 2019.

2.) The Crew have officially been saved, how does that feel? Where does next season leave the Crew and their fan base with FC Cincinnati joining the league?

MR: Well, it’s not official yet. But it might as well be. As far as where does that leave the team, the answer is an interesting crossroads. Not only will there be new ownership, but also a new head coach. And the team will need to hire a general manager because Gregg Berhalter is the sporting director right now. On top of that, both goalkeeper Zack Steffen and captain Wil Trapp had offers to move to Europe mid-season but both stayed. It’s likely those two depart in the off-season. So you’re really looking at something different in terms of the make up of the team..

As far as FC Cincinnati, I’m not sure the Crew are concerned about that right now. Cincinnati may take a stronghold on the very southern part of the state, but there are plenty of soccer fans all over the state that have been Black & Gold fans since 1996. Some of them will go to FCC but that’s only natural with two teams in the state. Frankly, I think it only helps soccer in Ohio and makes for a fun rivalry going forward.

3.) There is a strong possibility that Columbus will not make the postseason if they lose at home to Minnesota - what does your side need to do to avoid that embarrassment?

MR: Win. That’s really it. Crew SC was in the fourth spot for so long throughout the season that I think the team kind of expected that spot would just be theirs. That’s not how things work, unfortunately. I expect the Black & Gold to come out much more aggressive on Sunday given the emotions of the first crowd since the Save The Crew news and everything on the line. The problem with that is if you make a mistake and Minnesota scores, you’re in a world of hurt. As you put it, it will be rather embarrassing if Columbus fails to make the playoffs given their standing all year long.

What’s next?

Well, there is a lot to speculate for Minnesota fans. This season was not good, and one could say there wasn't much improvement from 2017. The concepts of the “three year plan” and “passing grades” are getting old. “What’s next?” is something we have to keep asking ourselves over and over again.

Today’s result doesn’t really matter for Minnesota, as our season is over. However, today is a great opportunity to get the young guns some minutes. I don’t expect that to happen, but it should. There is literally nothing to lose. Martin, Toye, Pangop, Omsberg, Romario and Manley should all be playing today.

See you all at Allianz in 2019, let’s hope we’re more than a stadium by then.