Orlando to win or draw, both teams to score
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Columbus Crew won the last time they met Orlando City, but that might not be the case this weekend. The last time these two sides drew a game was back in 2017 when the match ended 1-1 – a similar scoreline is on the cards this weekend.
Crew and Orlando played one of the best games last season at the Lower.com field. Miguel Berry and Derrick Etienne Junior scored in the first half to hand the home side a 2-0 lead before Daryl Dike scored from the spot to make it 2-1 early in the second half.
Orlando was desperate to get the equalizer, but Lucas Zelarayán ended their hopes with a 3rd goal for the home side just after the hour mark. Robin Jansson managed to pull one more back for the away side, but it was deep into injury time and the game ended 3-2.
The Crew fans will be looking for a repeat of the same this weekend, but Orlando goes in with a slight advantage because of their form. Orlando has also won 6 of the last 10 games these sides have played and that gives them another edge. Expect both teams to score – maybe even a high-scoring game, the last two games between these sides have ended 3-2 both ways.
Columbus Crew’s unbeaten start had been a somewhat shaky one nonetheless and has suitably come to an end pretty early. They have now lost their last two league matches and need a big win to bounce back.
The Crew started the season with a 4-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps, and they looked like a well-set team who were ready to challenge for the top spots. However, they drew 3-3 with 10-men San Jose Earthquakes, and it was obvious that cracks were beginning to appear in their tactics.
They managed to get back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Toronto FC but once again lost momentum after drawing 1-1 against the New York Red Bulls.
Things have not been great for them since, and they’ve gone on and lost to Nashville SC and Philadelphia Union since. Manager Caleb Porter has just not been able to get a change from his players on the pitch, with the defense, in particular, looking like it is some distance away from being at its best.
The Crew managed to keep hold of the ball for the majority of their games and average over 58% possession this season. But when it comes to passing, they just cannot get things done right in the opposition half. Their pass success rate drops from 90% to 74% once they cross the halfway line, and that will be a big concern for Porter as the drop is a drastic one.
In defense, the players are struggling to get their communication spot on. They have struggled for rhythm as a unit, have sometimes appeared to be completely out of sync, and that has seen them concede a few too many goals. Eloy Room has been decent, but it was his own goal that saw Philadelphia Union sit back and defend deep to pick up the 1-0 win. The crew had nearly 70% of the ball in the game, took 19 shots at goal, and had 8 corners.
However, they could not create a single big chance as the defense was solid from the home side. They managed just 4 shots on target, and the Union shot-stopper Andre Blake saved every single one of them.
So it’s safe to say that there are a few fronts on which the Crew have work to do, and that might not be the easiest thing to deal with ahead of – and during – a match that has historically been at a chaotic pace.
Orlando City did not enjoy the best of starts to the season but still managed to pull off a win against CF Montreal. Alexandre Pato and Benji Michel scored early in the second half before both sides were reduced to 10 men. Romell Quioto was shown the marching orders just after the hour mark before Robin Jansson got his second yellow in the 81st minute and reduced Orlando to 10 men as well.
They were then held to a goalless draw by Chicago Fire before FC Cincinnati defeated them 2-1 at home. The loss was a wake-up call for the players, and they did manage to bounce back with a 1-0 win over LA Galaxy. However, the joy was short-lived as Portland Timbers held them to a draw, and then Los Angeles FC beat them 4-2.
Their form at any point has been part of a pattern – they manage to get a win after a loss, and that is exactly what happened last weekend as well when they won 1-0 against Chicago Fire. This kind of pattern is not the consistency Oscar Pareja will be expecting from his players, although being second place in the Eastern Conference is a good enough return this deep into the season that he will happily take wins without thinking too much about what follows.
Similar to their opponents this week, Orlando City see their pass success rates go down drastically after crossing the halfway line. They too manage just 74% passing success in the opposition half despite having over 90% in their half. Crosses have been made at a success rate of 28%, and they do not attempt a lot during the games, averaging just 5 per match.
While their attack and midfield have plenty to improve upon based on the aforementioned numbers, the same cannot be said about their defense. They have managed 4 clean sheets in their 7 matches so far. They have won 3 of those matches and are yet to win when the defense concedes. They have lost 2 of the three matches they have conceded a goal in, and the only time they got a point was in the 1-1 draw at Portland Timbers. The defenders seem to be on top of their game at all times and have made just one error that has directly led to a goal this season.
They average 15 tackles a game, which is complemented with over 15 clearances. The goalkeeper is well-protected and has had to make just two saves a game on average – one of the lowest in the league.
|Columbus Crew vs Orlando City Information|
|Teams||Columbus Crew vs Orlando City|
|Time||Saturday, April 16 at 7.30 pm EST|
|How to watch||MLS LIVE on ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN, Bally Sports Ohio, Fox 35 Plus|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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