Orlando City SC will be looking to get back to winning ways when they welcome the Eastern Conference’s bottom side Columbus Crew to Camping World Stadium on Saturday.
With Jason Kreis‘ side comfortably beaten 4-2 at LA Galaxy last time out, three point hauls are absolutely crucial now with only FIVE MLS regular season fixtures remaining following this weekend’s game.
Additionally, Orlando City SC are only ONE point above the MLS Cup Playoff red line right now (34 points, 28 played) with New England Revolution breathing down the Lions’ neck (33 points), albeit having played a game more.
In many ways, Columbus Crew at home appears to be something of an ideal fixture at the business end of the season with Gregg Berhalter’s team having endured a forgettable 2016 campaign.
Beaten MLS Cup finalists against Portland Timbers last season of course, Crew just haven’t been able to replicate the kind of form that nearly took them all the way last term.
Losing Kei Kamara to New England Revolution in May, Columbus Crew just haven’t been able to replace the Sierra Leonian’s goals with the Ohio-based side having scored the third fewest amount of goals (36) in the East so far this season.
Heading into this fixture, Columbus Crew are winless in two games having been defeated by both LA Galaxy (2-1) and Vancouver Whitecaps (1-3) and Orlando City SC will be looking to ensure an unwanted hat-trick.
The good news for the Lions is that they are actually undefeated in the last FOUR fixtures against Columbus Crew and here’s how the last three meetings between the duo have played out below.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
Meeting Columbus Crew just under two months ago at MAPFRE Stadium, Orlando City SC pulled off an impressive second-half comeback on that occasion.
Heading into the break 2-0 down in a lacklustre first-half performance whereby goals from Tony Tchani and Ola Kamara had given Crew the initiative, goals from Kevin Molino and Cyle Larin rescued a point.
If everybody is honest, Orlando City SC have gave away far too many goals while relying on outscoring their opponents all season long and that is something that needs to be nipped in the bud for these final six fixtures.
Columbus Crew 2 Orlando City SC 2 – Highlights – July 23, 2016 (Credit: Polem Music)
When it comes down to Major League Soccer meetings between this duo, there have been FOUR previous encounters with mirror imagery across the wins, draws and losses spectrum.
As alluded to at the outset however, when you include June 2015’s 2-0 victory over Crew in the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup, Orlando City SC are actually undefeated in their last FOUR games against Gregg Berhalter’s men.
As we all like to forget, Columbus Crew started off this game series with a rousing 3-0 victory over the Lions back in April 2015 whereby Rafael Ramos saw red but positive results against Crew since have rendered this a distant memory.
We already spoke about Cyle Larin grabbing the equaliser at MAPRE Stadium last time out in July but in the meeting prior to that fixture, the Canadian international bagged a brace against Crew in August 2015’s 5-2 demolition.
A game that well and truly made up for the 3-0 defeat earlier in the season, Larin has proved to be a thorn in Columbus Crew’s side with THREE goals scored over the past TWO meetings.
Hopefully Larin can repeat the trick against Crew on Saturday with the 21-year-old strangely subdued against LA Galaxy last weekend.
Orlando City SC form
Yes, it happened again!
Last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to LA Galaxy yet again contributed to the fact that there have now been OVER 2.5 GOALS scored in NINE of Orlando City SC‘s last TEN fixtures in MLS.
As we have mentioned all season long, you are always going to get goals and plenty of entertainment when Orlando City SC take to the field.
Given Columbus Crew are notoriously low scorers in the Eastern Conference however, Jason Kreis would hope that the likes of José Aja, Seb Hines or Tommy Redding can nullify any goal threat with David Mateos suspended.
LA Galaxy 4 Orlando City SC 2 – Highlights – September 11, 2016 (Credit: LA Galaxy)
Columbus Crew form
While Orlando City SC have failed to punish teams nearer the bottom of the Eastern Conference table so far this season (E.g. Chicago Fire), the good news is that Columbus Crew are poor away travellers.
Gregg Berhalter’s men have lost FIVE of their last SIX road games in Major League Soccer in a record Orlando City SC quite simply have to take advantage of.
The Lions were only able to pick up two draws against Chicago Fire while drawing with Crew last time out so it’s about time Orlando City SC stamped their authority against a struggling side in Columbus.
Very much like Orlando City SC fixtures, Columbus Crew away games have produced their fair share of drama and excitement of late.
After all, FIVE of Crew’s last SIX away games in MLS have produced OVER 2.5 GOALS with Gregg Berhalter’s side most recently involved in a 2-1 defeat at LA Galaxy the last time they played away.
With Galaxy having only earned the breakthrough late in the 78th minute through Baggio Husidic on that occasion, Orlando City SC would hope to have stamped their authority far earlier on Saturday evening.
LA Galaxy 2 Columbus Crew 1 – Highlights – September 3, 2016 (Credit: LA Galaxy)
More good news for Orlando City SC lay in the fact that in FIVE of Crew’s last SIX away games in MLS, Gregg Berhalter’s men have conceded AT LEAST TWO GOALS.
Undeniably the reason why the Ohio-based team have slipped to the foot of the Eastern Conference, Columbus Crew fans have been wondering what has gone so wrong since reaching the MLS Cup Final last season.