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Minnesota, Columbus in search of offense

(Image: Twitter/@mnufc)

Teams searching for goals will meet when the struggling Columbus Crew travel to play Minnesota United on Saturday at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn.

Minnesota (4-4-3, 15 points) has two goals in its last four games, a fact that doesn’t disturb coach Adrian Heath. Instead, he notes that the Loons are still among the top-scoring teams in MLS despite a 2-0 loss at Chicago last week.

“There’s only six teams that’s scored (as many goals as) us in the league,” he said. “So, are all them panicking? Probably not. We have created chances in games. Were we not creating anything, I might have more of a concern. (Against Chicago), we weren’t good in many aspects and that’s one of them; didn’t create anything.”

The Crew (5-7-1, 16 points) are going through a similar rough patch. A 3-0 loss to Los Angeles FC last week was the third time they’ve been blanked in the past five matches. It was Columbus’ fifth shutout loss of the season.

“It is a collective effort to scoring goals. Pack of wolves hunt together, and they utilize each other to kill their prey,” said Crew forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored three goals vs. Minnesota in the 2018 regular-season finale. “I feel like we do the same thing on the field. Everybody plays a role and we can score goals and get results.”

Columbus, which has lost six of seven, could be without midfielder Pedro Santos (two goals, two assists), who went home to Portugal this week because of a family health issue.

The Crew might also play a second straight match without U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen (right foot). Backup Joe Bendik has played twice this season and lost 3-0 each time.

He looked shaky vs. LAFC at times, but Crew defender Gaston Sauro said the team was at fault.

“We just give up easy goals with big mistakes,” he said. “We don’t have to do it anymore. I think it is fixable.”

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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