Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. FC Dallas
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, September 6 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Columbus 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – Dallas 11/4
The Crew have been in fine form of late, going unbeaten in their last four, and are now just three points of DC United at the top of the Eastern Conference with this match being their game in hand.
A 2-1 win at New York City FC last week saw them record a third victory in four games and Greg Berhalter certainly has his team playing some fine football at the perfect time, with the playoffs fast approaching.Embed from Getty Images
FC Dallas ended a worrying three-game losing run with a 2-0 home win against Real Salt Lake last time out and will now hope to avoid defeat in Columbus to retain their own playoff hopes.
Dallas should make the postseason but inconsistency constantly prevents them being a real force and another loss here would crank the pressure up going into the final stretch of the season.
Oscar Pareja’s team are just three points above seventh place, despite sitting in third, but a three points here would put them two behind LA Galaxy at the top of the West with two more games in hand.Embed from Getty Images
So it’s a big one for both sides and one that should entertain. Last season’s meeting ended 0-0 in Columbus and it’s been four years since Dallas last beat the Crew.
Columbus could be without Sergio Campbell and Emanuel Pogatetz as both are doubtful with leg problems. Kei Kamara, Waylon Francis, Cedrick Mabwati, Kevan George, Justin Meram and Wil Trapp are all away on international duty, leaving the Crew short of options.
FC Dallas travel to Columbus without Tesho Akindele, Je-Vaugn Watson, Moises Hernandez, Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez as they are all away with their national teams. While Mauro Diaz and Dan Kennedy are both doubts.
Columbus Crew’s last five: L/W/D/W/W
FC Dallas’ last five: W/L/L/L/W
Key Stat: Columbus Crew are unbeaten in their last seven home games in MLS, scoring 16 times in those matches.
Key Player: Federico Higuain – In the absence of Kei Kamara, Higuain will look to step up and score the goals that will guide the Crew to victory here.Embed from Getty Images
Columbus Crew 3-1 FC Dallas – Hard to see FC Dallas taking anything out of this game. Both sides are depleted due to international absentees but Columbus should still be too strong at home and will look to earn three valuable points.