Crew's playoff hopes on the line
There will be drama at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina Wednesday night.
What's happening: It's a battle between an expansion side and a storied club as Charlotte FC hosts the Crew at 7pm in each team's penultimate regular season MLS match.
- Pressure is mounting for the Crew, who won the MLS Cup in 2020 but failed to qualify for the playoffs last season with a disappointing ninth-place finish.
- A win on Wednesday won't clinch a spot for either side, but it will keep them alive on Decision Day (the final day of the regular season)
How it works: MLS postseason play includes the top seven teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences. Both teams currently sit below seventh in the East.
By the numbers: Columbus is eighth with a record of 10-7-15 and 45 points. Charlotte's directly below them in ninth with 41 points at 13-17-2.
- A win is worth three points. A tie is worth one.
- Columbus has been playing the long game, with more draws than any other MLS team.
Yes, but: Claiming all six points in their last two matches would secure Columbus a playoff spot. Charlotte needs to claim all six points plus have another team lose, particularly seventh-place Inter Miami, which plays Wednesday and Sunday.
The intrigue: Wednesday's match — postponed from July due to a thunderstorm — will pick back up in the 16th minute. MLS policy dictates both teams have the same players on the field and the same subs for both matches.
- Injured or unavailable players can only be replaced by a substitute on July's official game roster. Goalkeepers are the exception.
- Crew forward Cucho Hernandez, who was suspended from last Saturday's game for using offensive language, will be back in action.
Flashback: Columbus hosted Charlotte in June. It ended in a one-all draw. The two sides also met in February during a preseason tournament in Charleston, which ended 0-0.
The bottom line: Wednesday night is a must-win for both sides.
Editor's note: This story was corrected to note that the Crew could clinch a playoff spot by winning their last two matches.
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