Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew
Venue: Citrus Bowl – Saturday, August 1 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: Orlando City 6/5 – Draw 13/5 – Columbus Crew 19/10
Orlando City host Columbus Crew this weekend in the third regular season meeting between the sides this term. The home side are yet to beat the Crew in a regular season game but were victorious in their meeting in the US Open Cup.
Adrian Heath’s side have lost their last three games on the bounce and this will be a real test for the eighth placed Orlando City.
Orlando have struggled to find home form this season, having won just three of their 11 ties at the Citrus Bowl and that is affecting their playoff chances.
Despite being six places behind the Crew in the league, Orlando are only seven points worse off than their opponents. Heath will be expecting his side to finish in the playoff spots and victory here would be a welcome result to end their four-game winless run.
Columbus Crew are sitting in a respectable second place in the Eastern Conference and know they cannot afford any slip-ups in the coming games as they will risk dropping down the table.
Crew SC have been in good form of late, losing just once in their last eight outings. Worryingly though, they have only won one regular season away game this campaign.
Gregg Berhalter’s side come into the game off the back of the 3-3 draw with Toronto last weekend, in which they squandered a 3-0 lead and so the players will need to respond immediately to keep the pressure on DC United at the top of the Eastern.
The MLS game between the two at the Citrus Bowl back in May ended in a 2-2 draw, while Columbus beat the Lions 3-0 at MAPFRE Stadium in April.
Orlando City will be without Kevin Molino, Tony Cascio, Brek Shea and Harrison Heath. Carlos Rivas is one caution away from suspension.
Columbus Crew have no injury concerns but do have three players one caution away from suspension. Mohammed Saeid, Kei Kamara and Waylon Francis are all treading on thin ice. Kamara suffered a knock in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night but should be fit to start here.
Orlando City’s last five in MLS: W/D/L/L/L
Columbus Crew’s last five in MLS: W/L/W/W/D
Key Stat: Columbus Crew have won just once away from home this season in MLS.
Key Player: Kaka – The midfield maestro played and scored in the midweek MLS All-Stars clash against Tottenham Hotspur and is unplayable when in the mood. Expect him to impress in front of his own fans on Saturday evening.Embed from Getty Images
Orlando City 1-2 Columbus Crew – Columbus Crew to take all three points with their second away win on the bounce against an Orlando side struggling to find any form.