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Revolution vs. Crew SC: Storylines to follow in week 10

Who will win the battle of the young goalkeepers? That, and three other headlines to track.

MLS: D.C. United at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Revolution and Crew SC will enter tonight’s match on the heels of disappointing results. The Revs coughed up a three-goal lead in Seattle. And Crew SC allowed NYCFC’s attack to run rampant during a 3-2 loss. Both teams will look to get back on track tonight at MAPFRE Stadium.

Here are four storylines to follow ahead of the week 10 matchup:

1. Who will win the battle of the young goalkeepers?

Columbus keeper Zack Steffen (22) and Revolution keeper Cody Cropper (24) have made a combined 19 league starts. But don’t confuse these short MLS resumes with a lack of experience. Steffen previously played for Bundesliga side SC Freiburg (he made 14 appearances for the club’s reserve side) and represented the U.S. at the U-18, U-20 and U-23 levels. Cropper, on the other hand, last played for British clubs Southampton and MK Dons. He, too, represented the U.S. at the U-20 and U-23 levels.

Both players have flashed brilliance in 2017 as they seek to develop into mainstays between the sticks for their respective clubs. Will one of the two former U.S. youth internationals stand out on Saturday?

2. Which club will claim the first of two May matchups?

“The league schedules opponents sometimes in very short succession," commented Crew SC Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, via columbuscrewsc.com. "It’s weird.”

The Revolution play Crew SC twice in the next three weeks—Saturday in Columbus, and Sunday, May 21 in Foxboro. Of course, these clubs are no stranger to one another; the two sides faced off four times last year, including a meeting at the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. But two May matchups will certainly make things interesting.

During Saturday’s outing, the Revs will kick off without former Crew SC forward Kei Kamara, who is with his wife as the couple anticipates the birth of their child. His absence will allow Jay Heaps to mix up his lineup for the second week in a row and, in all likelihood, throw a different look at Berhalter than he will in two weeks. Can the Revs take the first of the two meetings?

3. Can the Revolution get it together on the road?

Away matches haven’t been kind to the Revolution as of late. In fact, the club has gone winless in seven straight road matches (0-5-2); last Saturday’s draw with Seattle marked the first time the Revs scored multiple goals in any of those seven matches.

And while it’s worth noting that New England recently played to draws in Portland and Seattle—two of the toughest places to play in MLS—neither match served as a model of how to pick up a point on the road. Can the Revs reverse the trend, and earn a road win, tonight vs. Columbus?

4. Will injuries continue to impact Crew SC?

The Revolution will enter Saturday’s matchup at near-full health; only Chris Tierney (questionable) appears on the injury report. That’s been a common trend for Jay Heaps’ side, which has achieved remarkably good health in the early part of 2017.

The same can’t be said of Crew SC, who enter tonight’s match with six players on the injury report. Notable names include defender Alex Crognale (ankle sprain) and midfielder Artur (left wrist surgery). Columbus’ defense has struggled the most with this stretch of injuries, failing to achieve the week-to-week consistency the club needs to stave off some of the league’s top attacking teams. In recent weeks, NYCFC, the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC scored a combined seven goals against Berhalter’s team.

Can a less-than-healthy Crew SC side stand tall against the Revs?