Andy Gottesman / The Lantern
Even with a forecast of overcast skies, the stars are going to be out for Crew fans Saturday night.
The Columbus Crew will be taking on the Los Angeles Galaxy and their two high-profile stars, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, in a battle that pits two of the top teams in the MLS against one another.
The Crew is looking to counter the big-name, Hollywood appeal of the Galaxy with some theatrics of their own. Saturday marks the third annual “Blackout” night for Columbus.
The Crew are encouraging fans to wear black in a display of solidarity with their team, in juxtaposition to the “Whiteout” many OSU football fans are familiar with when traveling to face Penn State at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, Pa.
The Crew enter Saturday night’s match in first place of the Eastern Conference standings with 43 points, tied for the MLS best, and attempting to hold off the Chicago Fire, who are just three points behind.
On the other side of the pitch, Los Angeles counters with 41 points, currently good for second place in the Western Conference, just two points behind the Houston Dynamo. There are playoff implications for both teams.
The Galaxy have gained some momentum heading into this weekend’s showdown with Columbus, having shut out Toronto FC last week behind stout defensive play.
But the Crew are bringing some momentum of their own. They kept a three-match unbeaten streak prior to Wednesday night’s game. In fact, that unbeaten streak at Crew Stadium stood at 21 before that.
For Crew coach Robert Warzycha, he is just trying to keep his team healthy and competitive for a grueling seven matches in 21 days. The Crew have not been without their share of injuries this season, to put it mildly.
Columbus counters the Galaxy’s stars with one of its own, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. While currently lagging behind Beckham and Donovan in press clippings, he leads both players in goals with 12 on the season, good for third place in the MLS.
Crew fans hope to blot out the bright stars of The Galaxy with their “Blackout.” With playoff spots being contested, the match is sure to move beyond the big names and the crowd’s attire, and focus on the big stakes.
The game can be seen Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Crew Stadium.