Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, July 19 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: Columbus 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago 11/4
Columbus will be delighted with the road win and return home looking to take three more points from their rivals as they look to cement a playoff spot with 14 games remaining.
The Crew moved up to second in the Eastern on Wednesday as Kei Kamara’s powerful header saw them win on the road for the first time this season – something which will have delighted Gregg Berhalter and the club.Embed from Getty Images
The Crew have not lost at home in their last three and will expect to see off a Chicago side who still sit bottom of both their conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings after 19 weeks.
Frank Yallop’s men have underperformed this year and haven’t really looked like challenging for a playoff spot. There’s still all to play for as they are only six points off sixth place, but they must start winning matches regularly to have a chance of postseason football.
A 1-0 win at home to Seattle last weekend should have helped them get a result against the Crew in midweek, and the fact that it didn’t will go down as a missed opportunity.
They have not won away this season and have netted just seven goals in eight road games, so the chances of victory at MAPFRE stadium on Sunday night look slim.Embed from Getty Images
They did pick up a 2-2 draw in the earlier game in Columbus after coming from 2-0 down and they need to show similar spirit here.
Columbus Crew will likely be without Hector Jimenez, who is the only injury concern for the side, while Kevan George remains away on international duty. Berhalter will probably look to keep his team selection similar to the one that beat Chicago on Wednesday.
Frank Yallop has more concerns to deal with. The Fire will be without Shaun Maloney and Guly Do Prado through injury, while Jeff Larentowicz and David Accam are doubts. Joevin Jones remains absent at the Gold Cup.
Columbus Crew’s last five: W/D/W/L/W
Chicago Fire’s last five: L/L/D/W/L
Key Stat: Chicago Fire have not won in any of their last 16 away games in MLS.
Key Player: Kei Kamara – Impossible to overlook the powerful striker. He leads MLS in goals with 13 and has netted all three of the Crew’s goals in the two previous games with Chicago this season.Embed from Getty Images
Columbus Crew 2-1 Chicago Fire – Expect the Fire to put up more of a fight than they did in midweek but the end result to be the same. Columbus look too strong for their opponents and should make it two wins on the bounce in front of their own fans.