Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Orlando City
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, April 1 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)
Match Odds: Columbus 3/5 – Draw 3/1 – Orlando 4/1
Columbus Crew welcome Eastern Conference rivals Orlando City to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a matchup that has a history of being high in goals.
The hosts are top of the East following their impressive start to the 2017 regular season. They’ve lost just once in four outings and have won back-to-back games. Columbus come into this one having picked up an impressive three points against Portland last weekend and are favourites to get past Orlando here.
That fixture last week means Columbus have already played two more games than the Lions this season, but it shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve had the best part of a week to recover and legs should be fresh this early on in the campaign.Embed from Getty Images
Orlando City head into this fixture having won both of their games, although both have been at home so a win here would send out a serious signal of intent to the rest of the conference.
The Lions were tipped to struggle with the absence of their injured skipper Kaka, but they have looked good value for both of their wins so far and have shown an early ability to grind out results.
This is Orlando’s first away game of their 2017 campaign. They won just three times on the road last season, something they will need to improve on to ensure they battle for a playoff place this time around.Embed from Getty Images
Gaston Sauro and Dilly Duka are both unavailable through injury and Jonathan Mensah is a doubt for the game this weekend. Kekuta Manneh has been signed by the Crew in a trade that has seen Toni Tchani head to Vancouver, so the pacey winger may be in contention to start here.
Tony Rocha, Kaká and Seb Hines all miss the trip to Columbus, while Kevin Alston and Rafael Ramos are both questionable.
Columbus Crew’s form: D/L/W/W
Orlando City’s form: W/W
Key Stat: There have been a staggering 33 goals in the seven previous meetings between these sides in all competitions.
Key Player: Ola Kamara – The Columbus Crew striker has already found the back of the net three times this season and e will be looking to continue his impressive form in front of goal on Saturday evening.Embed from Getty Images
Columbus Crew 2-1 Orlando City – This fixture has provided plenty of action in the past and you can expect it to be a lively one yet again. Columbus will expect to take all three points seeing as they’re at home, but know they’re going to be in for a tricky afternoon against an Orlando side who are causing their opponents problems with their patient approach to games.