The Columbus Crew may pay down the road with a congested schedule, but a weather-related postponement at Charlotte FC could help this week, especially when they host CF Montreal on Wednesday.
While Montreal (11-8-3, 36 points) was playing to a 0-0 tie against New York City FC on Saturday, the Crew (7-5-9, 30 points) had their twice-delayed scoreless draw the same night halted because of lightning in the Charlotte area and a looming midnight noise ordinance. The game will resume on Oct. 5.
In theory, the Crew should be more rested than Montreal and may be able to field their regulars Wednesday and Saturday for another important home match vs. New York City, which would have been their third match in eight days.
The Crew need all the advantages they can get as they look to climb the Eastern Conference standings after a slow start.
Even with a nine-game unbeaten streak (4-0-5), they still sit in sixth. Montreal is fourth and NYCFC (42 points) is second, three points behind frontrunner Philadelphia.
"We want to keep pushing for the top," Crew coach Caleb Porter said. "We need to keep hunting those teams."
The Crew will rely on Lucas Zelarayan, who has been involved in seven of their past eight goals (one goal, six assists).
CF Montreal presents a challenge. In the NYCFC game, they did not allow a shot on goal for the fifth time in club history.
"We put in such a good shift. I think that was our best defensive effort as a team this season," defender Kamal Miller.
The attack wasn't able to dent New York City despite the best efforts of midfielder Lassi Lappalainen, who had three shots attempted and created two chances against the MLS Cup champions.
"All we were missing was a win," Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy said. "My team is capable of playing very high-level matches."
--Field Level Media