Rapids at Columbus Crew Preview
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The Colorado Rapids (2-7-6, 12 pts) visit the Columbus Crew (5-6-3, 18 pts) at Lower.com Field this Wednesday, May 31, for Matchday 16 (5:30 p.m. MT; Apple TV - MLS Season Pass, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).
The Rapids look to break a four-game losing streak in MLS play this Wednesday after falling to league-leading FC Cincinnati in a 1-0 home defeat last Saturday. Connor Ronan struck the bar and MLS SuperDraft pick Moïse Bombito saw a curling effort saved as the Rapids were unable to overcome a first-half strike from former Rapids forward Dominique Badji. With the result, the Rapids remain four points behind the playoff line as the season approaches the halfway mark.
Ronan has been a bright spot for the Rapids since joining the club from England's Wolverhampton Wanderers FC this past off season on a four-year deal. The midfielder has recorded one goal and six assists through his first 15 games in Burgundy, a mark that's tied for the second-most assists by any Rapids player all-time through their first 15 games in MLS. His six assists are also currently tied for fourth-most in the league. Ronan has been involved in all of the Rapids' last six MLS goals (one goal, five assists), which included a three-assist game against the LA Galaxy that saw Ronan become the first Rapids player since Jack Price in 2019 to log three assists in a single game.
The Crew enter Wednesday's match also looking to end a losing streak of their own that goes back three games across all competitions. Columbus exited the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after falling 1-0 to USL Championship side Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC last Wednesday, which was followed by a 3-1 defeat on the road to Nashville SC over the weekend. Despite their recent form, the Crew remain an offensive threat with Wilfried Nancy's side third in MLS with 26 goals this season. Among the teams currently sitting outside the playoff spots, Columbus is the only club with a positive goal differential with six. Although Designated Player Lucas Zelarayán leads the team with six goals, scoring has come from a wide distribution of players with 13 different players finding the back of the net this season. Midfielder Alexandru Matan and forward Cucho Hernández are tied in MLS for third-most assists with six each.
The Rapids will be bolstered by the return of midfielder Bryan Acosta and winger Sam Nicholson who both missed the club's match against Cincinnati due to yellow card accumulation. Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett also saw his first minutes over the weekend since suffering a hamstring injury against Charlotte FC on April 15 and is available for the midweek match against the Crew.
Wednesday's match will mark just the third time in MLS history that two black head coaches face off against each other. Rapids head coach Robin Fraser was hired in 2019, only the fifth black head coach in league history at the time, while Wilfried Nancy was announced as the Crew's head coach at the end of 2022 after spending two seasons at CF Montréal in his first head coach role. The only other instances that two black head coaches have faced each other occurred last season when Chicago Fire FC with then-head coach Ezra Hendrickson went against Nancy's Montreal in their two regular season encounters.
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Major League Soccer Stories from May 31, 2023
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