COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s finally here. Today at 4 p.m. ET, Columbus Crew will host LAFC in the 2023 MLS Cup. It’s a battle of the Black & Gold at Lower.com Field. Let’s take a look at how both teams could lineup and how it could affect the result.
2023 MLS Cup Lineups Prediction for December 9, 2023
LAFC Talking Points:
The defending champions are back in the final after an up-and-down regular season by their standards. Steve Cherundolo has them playing more pragmatically, but it’s been effective. They defend out of a 4-3-3 most of the time and hit teams on the counter. Golden Boot winner Dénis Bouanga has led the attach. An older and less effective Carlos Vela is still dangerous. It’s a balanced, albeit narrow and defensive, midfield three.
Giorgio Chiellini at 39-years-old has beaten out Aaron Long to lead the back four in front of goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. Crépeau is back to Cup, having suffered a horrific fractured leg in the final last year.
LAFC did not lost any players as unavailable in their injury report this week. Cherundolo played the same lineup and formation in the Conference Semifinal at Seattle as he did the Conference Final against Houston. That involved two changes from the second leg at Vancouver: Mario González was replaced by Cristian Olivera, with Vela moving central and Olivera at right wing. Also, Chiellini has replaced Long next to Jesús Murillo at the back.
READ MORE: Columbus Crew Vs LAFC Predictions On December 9, 2023
Columbus Crew Talking Points:
The Crew are back hosting the final for the first time since 2020 during COVID. It’s been a wild assent for the club after the Save The Crew movement. A new stadium, Wilfried Nancy’s drip and second half changes, and lots of money spent to build a good team.
Cucho Hernández leads a front that wants to hold onto the ball and thread perfect passes to unlock defenses. Darlington Nagbe leads the midfield alongside rising youngster Aidan Morris. The play with aggressive wingbacks and a back three in front of 22-year-old goalkeeper Patrick Schulte.
Just like the visitors, they’re going to play their game. If they’re sharp with the ball, they should get chances. If they turn it over in bad spots, look out for the counter attack. Styles make fights.
Like LAFC, Crew had no players listed as our or questionable in their game notes. Will Sands suffered a season-ending knee injury back in April. Josh Williams has yet to make his 2023 debut due to an ankle injury. In terms of the squad that got them to the final, it’s a clean bill of health.
LISTEN: Last Word SC Radio: 2023 MLS Cup Preview, Copa America Group Reaction
2023 MLS Cup Lineup Predictions:
Goalkeeper: Maxime Crépeau
Defense: Ryan Hollingshead, Jesús Murillo, Giorgio Chiellini, Diego Palacios
Midfield: Timothy Tillman, Ilie Sánchez, Kellyn Acosta
Attack: Cristian Olivera, Carlos Vela, Dénis Bouanga
Columbus Crew: 3-4-3
Goalkeeper: Patrick Schulte
Defense: Steven Moreira, Rudy Camacho, Malte Amundsen
Midfield: Mohamed Farsi, Darlington Nagbe, Aidan Morris, Yaw Yeboah
Attack: Alexandru Matan, Cucho Hernández, Diego Rossi
Yeah, it’s kind of predictable. Both teams should lineup the way they have the last two matches. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Also, just to throw in a match prediction, 2-1 LAFC in 90 minutes. Goals from Chiellini, Bouanga, and Hernández, in that order.
Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports