COLUMBUS, OH – Two of Major League Soccer’s early conference leaders collide on Saturday when Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Columbus Crew SC in an afternoon affair at MAPFRE Stadium.
KICKOFF: 12 p.m. PT | TV: CTV, TSN4, TSN5 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here are the key storylines to watch.
Table-toppers: Vancouver (2W-1L-1D) and Columbus (3W-0L-1D) enter the weekend as the co-leaders of their respective conferences through four matches. The two teams, in fact, have been among the stronger teams in MLS since their respective coaches, Carl Robinson and Gregg Berhalter, took over in 2014.
Kamara’s return: Kei Kamara began his MLS career with Columbus in 2006 and returned for a second stint in 2015, finishing as the joint top-scorer and an MVP finalist. His time with Crew SC didn’t end on great terms, but that’s all behind him now.
Eligible for selection: Whitecaps FC centre back Kendall Waston, who missed last weekend’s match vs. LA Galaxy due to international duty with Costa Rica, could return to the fold after having his red card vs. Atlanta rescinded.
Felipe (CM) vs. Federico Higuain (AM): Higuain pulls the strings offensively for Columbus, as evidenced by his league-leading 13 chances created this season. Felipe, meanwhile, is coming off a man of the match performance for Vancouver in which he recorded game-highs in touches, successful passes, interceptions, and chances created. Since joining MLS in 2012, Felipe and Higuain have established themselves as two of the league’s best midfielders. They’ve had some great battles over the years in the MLS Eastern Conference and they will likely be seeing a lot of each other again on Saturday.
“It’s my second biggest home base in America with my family and friends, so I definitely am happy to go back to Columbus. I’m happy to go play in that stadium again. It was the team that drafted me, what, 13 years ago, so there’s a lot of history. But to me, about what happened a couple of years ago, come on, that’s way gone.” – Kei Kamara on his return to Columbus