MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Chicago Fire

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

Match Preview

Columbus Crew take on Chicago Fire in the second meeting between the Eastern Conference sides in five days after Columbus beat Chicago 1-0 on Wednesday night.

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.

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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.

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction 

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.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, June 27 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 13/8 Draw 12/5 Columbus Crew 13/8

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake play host to Columbus Crew in Utah as the Crew look to vastly improve their awful away form, having taken just three points from a possible 21 so far with no away wins registered.

Real Salt Lake are coming off a 1-0 defeat to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night in what was their sixth defeat on the road so far this season.

In that match, RSL finished with nine men as top scorer Javier Morales and Demar Phillips were both sent off at Red Bull Arena.

Having taken 13 points at home this season, Real Salt Lake will look to capitalise on the fact Columbus Crew haven’t picked up a victory away from the MAPFRE Stadium in MLS in 2015.

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Consistency is key for getting in the playoff places and RSL have only earned back-to-back victories once this season – one of the reasons they are still outside the top six.

Columbus head to Rio Tinto Stadium searching for another victory after their 2-1 win over New England Revolution on Wednesday night.

Although the Crew are just fifth in the Eastern Conference, they are only three points off the top three in a congested Eastern Conference.

Kei Kamara is in double digits for the season having netted twelve goals in his first season back in MLS and will look to build on his midweek display after scoring both of the Crew’s goals.

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Only Chicago Fire have picked up fewer points away from home this season than Columbus with two points accumulated, so Gregg Berhalter’s men need to ensure they start winning on the road to guarantee a top six finish.

Last time these sides met was last season as the game in Columbus finished 1-1, while Real Salt Lake won the last home game 4-0 in 2013.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without Javier Morales and Demar Phillips through suspension. Chris Schuler is out and there is a doubt over whether or not Jamison Olave will play.

Columbus Crew have just the one injury concern with Will Trapp still a major doubt with concussion.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake last five: L/L/D/W/L

Columbus Crew last five: D/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Kei Kamara has scored just three less goals than Real Salt Lake have scored all season. Kamara is on twelve whereas RSL have scored fifteen in total.

Key Player: Luke Mulholland – Mulholland has two goals this season and two assists. With Morales suspended he could be the man that Salt Lake turn to for goals and will hope he can create the chances too.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 3-0 Columbus Crew – Although Morales is suspended, Rio Tinto is a tough place for away teams to go to and Columbus Crew will struggle to win their first road game here. The last time they visited Utah, Columbus Crew were turned over 4-0 and a similar result could be on the cards.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – New England Revolution 11/4

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host New England Revolution in their midweek clash as they look to win their first game in six regular season ties.

Despite the Crew’s winless run they are still sitting in a playoff spot but will need to turn things around if they are to avoid dropping out the top six.

They come into this one off the back of a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy, which isn’t a bad result as they equalised in the second half through Federico Higuain.

Gregg Barhalter‘s side need to tighten up at the back, having conceded ten goals in their last five regular season outings.

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Kei Kamara hasn’t netted in his last three regular season games and will be hoping to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal which has seen him bag 10 in 15 appearances.

New England Revolution have struggled lately, winning just once in their last eight regular season games. They are still sitting in second place but last weekend’s loss to DC United has made their chances of finishing at the top of the pile much harder, as they are now seven points adrift.

Jay Heaps will be hoping a win in this one could be the start of a revitalisation for his side, as they have Orlando City bearing down on them in third.

They come into the game off the back of that defeat to DC United, which was bitterly disappointing as they threw the game away after being a goal to the good at halftime and need to ensure the players stay focused for longer here.

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Charlie Davies has had a bright start to the season, netting seven in 16 appearances and he will be hoping to build on that in this game.

The Revs thumped Columbus in last season’s playoffs but the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium in the first meeting between the two this year.

Team News

Columbus Crew could be without up to three players as Matt Lampson, Will Trapp and Chris Klute are all doubtful. We can expect to see Federico Higuain in the thick of the action, as he has scored in his last two games.

New England Revolution will be without Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones, who both remain sidelined.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/D/L/L/D

New England Revolution’s last five: D/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: New England have conceded at least two goals in their last four regular season games and have lost their last three away from home.

Key Player: Federico Higuain – The playmaker has been in good form of late. He has netted four so far this season and registered one assist. Expect him to be involved.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-2 New England Revolution – Another tight affair expected, with neither side doing enough to take all three points. There should be more goals than the earlier meeting as neither side has been good defensively.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, June 13 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 5/2

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host a below-par LA Galaxy team on Saturday night as the home side look to end a winless run of six.

The Crew have been out of sorts recently despite showing early promise and with one win in their last seven they are very much on a downward slope.

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However, they will take confidence knowing they won the same fixture last year 4-1 and the fact that all four of their wins have come at home this season will fill supporters with confidence.

Columbus Crew’s 2015 MLS record: P14 – W4 – D4 – L6

LA Galaxy are a team lacking conviction and a clear identity as manager Bruce Arena has struggled to cope with injuries this term, having failed to name the same starting XI back-to-back thus far.

With the reigning MLS Cup champions failing to win away from home this campaign, they will struggle to challenge for the title again should that not change soon.

LA Galaxy’s 2015 MLS record: P16 – W5 – D6 – L5

And now that their long-standing home record in the league has ended with the 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend, the Galaxy are in dire need of a winning run as we approach the midpoint of the season.

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This is a game between two sides desperate to win as they both need to start climbing their respective conferences after failing to live up to potential so far.

Team News

Columbus Crew may be without Wil Trapp, Chris Klute and Matt Lampson as they all remain doubtful. Emanuel Pogatetz may return to the starting lineup after being benched in the 2-1 loss to Montreal Impact. Justin Meram is unlikely to return from international duty in time to feature.

LA Galaxy remain without goalkeeper Brian Perk who is out for the season. Jose Villarreal, Robbie Rogers, Todd Dunivant and Dan Gargan are all doubts for the clash. Robbie Keane will be with the Ireland team, while AJ DeLaGarza and Bradford Jamieson IV are also away on international duty.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/L/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy haven’t won away from home in their last 14 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The powerful forward may not be in the best form of late but he has still netted 10 times this season and has six in his last five at MAPFRE Stadium.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 1-1 LA Galaxy – Honours even in this one. Columbus are normally good at home and Galaxy can’t seem to win away. But with neither playing to their potential this looks set to end as a score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew 

Venue: PPL Park – Wednesday, June 3rd – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Thursday, June 4th)

Match Odds: Philadelphia Union 13/10 – Draw 23/10 – Columbus Crew 21/10

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union take on Columbus Crew on Wednesday night in a key clash where both sides will be desperate to take all three points.

Philadelphia come into this one off the back of a 2-1 loss to DC United, which was their third loss in their last five games.

Jim Curtin‘s side has won two on the bounce prior to that though they have been in inconsistent form so far this campaign, which has seen them lose eight of their 14 regular season games. If they are to push for a playoff spot they are going to need to make their home form count, but things aren’t all that bad, as they are only two points adrift of the top six in the Eastern Conference.

Conceding goals has been a real problem for The Union and they haven’t been too good in front of goal either, scoring just 14 times this campaign, with Curtin’s forwards netting only six goals combined.

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Sebastien Le Toux notched his first of the season in the loss against DCU, but it was a disappointing result and The Union will be hoping to turn around their fortunes on Wednesday evening.

Columbus Crew come into the game after back-to-back draws. The Crew’s away form hasn’t been good but they will fancy their chances of picking up their first away win of the season in this one.

Gregg Berhalter will be delighted with Kei Kamara’s form as the forward has ten goals in 12 appearances so far this season and he looks on track to win the Golden Boot if he can keep it up.

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Columbus thumped The Union 4-1 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and will be hoping for much of the same this time out.

Team News

Philadelphia Union could be without up to seven players through injury. Andre Blake, Michael Lahoud, Steven Vitoria, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot, Raymon Gaddis and Jimmy McLaughlin are doubtful. Vincent Nogueira is one booking away from a suspension.

Columbus Crew have just two injury concerns as Wil Trapp and Matt Lampson are sidelined, while Michael Parkhurst is suspended following his red card against Orlando City last weekend.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/L/W/W/L

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Columbus Crew have yet to win on the road this season. This will give Philadelphia confidence heading into the tie.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The striker’s performances cannot be ignored when picking a key player for this one. He is in scintillating form and will look to add to his impressive tally.

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Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-1 Columbus Crew – A combination of Union’s inconsistent run of form and Crew SC’s inability to win on the road will inevitably lead to a draw here.

STATS – How important is Kei Kamara to Columbus Crew?

Kei Kamara has started the season in blistering form and is the leading scorer in Major League Soccer and is playing a huge part in Columbus Crew‘s Eastern Conference position of fourth.

The forward has netted an impressive nine goals in his opening eleven games and isn’t showing any signs of his strike rate dropping off.

He has been Crew’s top performer this season, so lets see how he has performed in key attacking areas.

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Key Passes Duels Won
Kamara 11 9 2 70% 48 58% 13 48%

His nine goals and two assists mean he has been involved in as many games as he has played. Crew have scored 17 regular season goals so far this campaign and Kamara has over half of those.

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Kamara is also creating more than four chances for his teammates per-game, which shows he is not just a goal-scorer, but that he can provide as a hold-up player.

He only has 58% shot accuracy and won under half his duels, but with his goal output in mind those stats are easy to scrutinise.

Crew have only had four other players to hit the target this season, Justin Meram on three, Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain on two and Tony Tchani with one. It is one thing being expected to score the goals for your side but another to actually provide, and Kamara is doing the best job of that in MLS at the moment.

Kamara has a good chance of breaking the record for the most goals in one MLS season, which is currently held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips on 27.

Hypothetically speaking, if Kamara’s strike rate stays the same, he would be on 27 goals in 33 games. That would give him one regular season game left to break the record. But it has to be mentioned that it is very hard to maintain such a great output.

How important has Kei Kamara been for Columbus Crew this season and can he break the record for most goals in a single season? 

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Friday, May 22 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – DC United 100/30

Match Preview

Columbus Crew take on Chicago Fire in the first of this week’s Friday night fixtures at MAPFRE Stadium with both looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats last week.

The Crew lost 2-0 at San Jose after playing with ten men for much of the game and will hope the return home can inspire them to record a fourth straight win.

Gregg Berhalter’s side beat Seattle Sounders 3-2 two weeks ago and will be looking to record a fifth win of the campaign against the Fire this week.

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Columbus have not won away from home this year, and with two road games coming up next, it’s important the Crew try to take all three points from their game on Friday.

Chicago Fire are without a win in three now, after going on a winning streak of three prior to that, and Frank Yallop will need to try and steady the ship quickly as they look to move back into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago have not won on the road this season, losing three of their four, with the only draw coming in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at New York City FC. Though they should have won that game after leading 2-0 against an NYCFC team with just ten players.

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A trip to Columbus won’t present the Fire with an easy task though as they have lost their on their last two trips to Ohio, without scoring a goal.

Last season saw them play twice in MLS, with the Crew winning the home game 2-0, before a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park in August.

Team News

Columbus Crew will be without Mohammed Saeid after he picked up a red card last week. Wil Trapp will miss out once again through concussion, while Matt Lampson is struggling with a hamstring strain. Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain will continue to play in attack and will look to cause the Fire defence damage.

Chicago have three injury worries heading into the game as Mike Magee, Patrick Nyarko and Matt Watson are all likely to miss out. Magee has returned to training and will not be too far away from a return to action now so he could even feature here.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: There have been a total of 21 cards in the last six meetings in all competitions between these two, with two of those a red.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The powerful striker has seven goals already this season and has four in his last three home games. Expect him to be a threat.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 3-1 Chicago Fire – Columbus have scored at least three goals in their last three home meetings and will likely prove too strong for Chicago this weekend. The Fire have struggled on the road and will come unstuck in this one once again.

STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS?

With the 2015 MLS season well underway, it’s a great time to look at the top goalscorers in the league and just how prolific they really are.

Using statistics from Squawka, we take a look at the strikers who have scored five or more goals so far this term, and how their conversion rates compare:

Striker Goals Scored Total Shots Conversion Rate (%)
Clint Dempsey 7 18 39
Kei Kamara 7 43 16
Obafemi Martins 6 16 38
Octavio Rivero 6 43 14
Chris Wondolowski 6 34 18
Giles Barnes 6 38 16
Bradley Wright-Phillips 5 31 16
Jozy Altidore 5 16 31
Blas Perez 5 13 38

According to the statistics above, Clint Dempsey is the most prolific striker out of the pack as he has a conversion rate 39%.

There is a clear advantage with the Seattle Sounders going forward as both their forwards register conversion rates over 35% – further proof that Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an incredible strike force.

However, notice must be taken of how prolific Blas Perez has been for FC Dallas (38% conversion rate) as has Jozy Altidore on his return to MLS (31% conversion rate).

Who do you think has been the best striker in MLS this season?

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 10:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 8/5 – Draw 11/5 – Columbus Crew 7/4

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes entertain Columbus Crew on Saturday evening as they look to build upon a three-game unbeaten streak. The Crew have won three of their last four, so both sides are looking strong heading into this tie.

Dominic Kinnear’s side picked up a point last weekend away at Colorado Rapids and he will be looking for his side to make home advantage count in this, the first of two home games on the bounce.

The Quakes have lost four games so far this season and are sitting fourth in the Western Conference. They are one of four sides on 14 points so they cannot afford to fall behind the pace in the chase for a playoff spot.

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Chris Wondolowski has five goals this season, contributing to half of his side’s overall tally of ten. He will be hoping for his teammates to start hitting form as Adam Jahn and Sanna Nyassi have just two goals between them.

Gregg Berhalter’s Crew are also on 14 points over in the Eastern Conference. They picked up an impressive three points at home to Seattle Sounders last weekend so their confidence will be sky-high heading into this one.

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Goals from Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain saw off the Sounders and the two have been in great form so far this season. Kamara is the joint leading scorer on seven from nine appearances this campaign and the Quakes will need to stop service into him to halt his brilliant run of form.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes have five injury concerns going into the game as Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Innocent Emeghara all remain sidelined. The Quakes have no suspensions to note.

Columbus Crew have just the one injury concern to Wil Trapp and Berhalter has no other worries with his squad heading into this one. Hernan Grana has left the team and returned to Argentina so Hector Jimenez is likely to start at right-back again.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: W/L/D/W/D

Columbus Crew’s form: D/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Stalemate – The last four meetings between the sides have all ended in a draw.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The Crew forward cannot be ignored as the key player for this tie. He boasts the equal best scoring form so far this season and is proving very difficult to stop.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Columbus Crew – The sides once again will prove difficult to be separated. Crew haven’t won on the road in five and will be hard pushed to break that trend here as a score draw looks the most likely outcome.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: DC United 6/4 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus 7/5

Match Preview

DC United host Columbus Crew in a key Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night with two of the best form sides in MLS going head-to-head.

DC extended their unbeaten run to five in last week’s impressive 2-1 comeback win against the Vancouver Whitecaps and are now just two points behind the Canadian side in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, with two games in hand.

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Ben Olsen’s men have looked strong this season and with Fabian Espindola returning to the side from suspension last weekend, they are in a position to push on further, with a win against Columbus the aim this Saturday.

The Crew have an unbeaten run going themselves, having not lost in four, and recorded their second consecutive win last week in that 4-1 thumping of the Philadelphia Union.

The Black and Yellow have scored more goals than any side in MLS after eight weeks and travel to DC in fine spirits.

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Columbus have taken points from DC United in their last three trips to RFK Stadium, winning two and drawing one, and will hope to continue that trend this week.

DC have not beaten Columbus in their last five meetings and so this one is perfectly poised in what should be a great contest.

Team News

DC United will be without Markus Halsti, Eddie Johnson, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin, while a goalkeeping crisis sees Bill Hamid and Andrew Dykstra both doubtful. Travis Worra came on for Dykstra last week and could get his first first ever start in this one. Fabian Espindola will partner Chris Rolfe in attack again.

Columbus Crew have just two concerns going into the game as Sergio Campbell and Wil Trapp are both doubtful. Tony Tchani and Mohammed Saeid are likely to continue their midfield partnership in the absence of Trapp, while Kei Kamara will hope to continue his fine form in front of goal as the lone striker.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/W/D/D/W

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: DC United are unbeaten in their last 12 home games in MLS, but will need to snap a run of five games without a win against the Crew to seal all three points.

Key Player: Ethan Finlay – The Crew winger scored his first brace in MLS last weekend in that win over Philadelphia. He now has two goals and four assists this season and is looking in fine form.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 Columbus Crew – These two are in such good form that it’s too difficult to separate them. A draw would probably suit both and that is the most likely outcome, though expect both sides to score as some fine attacking talents will be on display.