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Another vital battle in the chase towards a playoff spot.
While Nashville SC appears to be on the cusp of earning a postseason invitation, the Columbus Crew are running with some late momentum that could see them sneak in.
Late momentum might even be an understatement here.
The Crew only have one loss in their last six games in all competitions and recently took part in a 4-0 thrashing of Inter Miami last week.
Once lost in the middle of the season with constant defeats, the current title-holders now appear revitalized in their last-minute sprint towards the playoffs.
Nashville on the other hand, aren’t taking too many chances these days and have tended to lean towards draws.
With a place near the top of the Eastern Conference table, they’ll continue to play cautious soccer.
That’ll make this one close, but considering the Crew’s confidence, it’s tempting to look towards three points for the visitors.
Things are truly looking good for the Crew.
Following a six-game losing streak during the summer, the 2020 champions have dusted themselves off and rebounded with only one loss in their last six games.
“When a group of 11 guys who pull their sleeves up and work and fight and are organized, play hard, play smart, play together – good things happen,” recently said manager Caleb Porter.
And plenty of these good things have been evident on the sudden success on the field.
Outside of their defeat to the Philadelphia Union earlier this month, the Crew have been near-perfect with their performances since mid-September.
As seen last week, they’ve also showcased that they can earn one-sided results that may carry them to the playoffs.
Last Saturday, Columbus were absolutely brilliant against Miami.
With a dominant 4-0 result, the Crew secured what is so far their biggest margin of victory this season.
They created several dangerous chances, they were efficient in front of the net and were it not for the woodwork, they could have potentially been up 5-0 over Miami.
“We played in a ruthless way today. We showed that killer instinct” said Porter after the match.
There have been a few games we’ve been up in games but we let a team hang around, and we went for the jugular today.
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) October 17, 2021
While Columbus are pushing forward through their “ruthless” soccer, Nashville have been a bit more pragmatic.
They have four draws in their last four MLS matches and have only scored twice during that run.
And despite the fact that they haven’t lost since September 18th, it might only be a matter of time before their approach pushes them towards a loss.
According to Wyscout, Nashville have finished with a lower xG (expected goals) rating in three of their last four games.
This isn’t sustainable, and up against an invigorated Columbus, they could run into some problems.
In case you needed a reminder about Gyasi Zardes’ abilities, the 30-year-old stood out in the latest win with two goals last Saturday.
This isn’t anything new either.
Through his last four appearances with the club, the American has collected five goals for the Crew.
By the way, the last time Zardes faced Nashville, he ended up finishing with a goal and assist in a 2-0 victory in November of 2020.
|Nashville SC vs Columbus Crew Information
|Nashville SC vs Columbus Crew
|Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tennessee)
|Wednesday, October 20th at 5:30 pm PT/8:30 pm ET
|How to Watch
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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