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Columbus Crew at Atlanta United Betting Preview
After two straight home games, a win, and a draw, the Columbus Crew are on the road this weekend as they head south to Atlanta United. With four points this week, the defending champions are up to sixth place and could potentially be in third by the end of the weekend. Saturday’s game will be nationally televised on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Columbus has won four in a row against Atlanta United by a combined margin of 8-2. Atlanta got the best of the Crew in their first four meetings after joining the MLS. With a new manager in charge on an interim basis, Atlanta will play their first home game since firing Gabriel Heinze.
Crew Frustrated in Scoreless Draw
Columbus was held scoreless at home on Wednesday night by Nashville in a 0-0 draw. The result gives them four draws in their last five matches and marked their second scoreless draw in the last five games.
The Crew outshot Nashville 18-8 and put seven shots on goal but couldn’t come through with the goal. They also had 66 percent of the possession against Nashville. Eloy Room returned from the Gold Cup and made one save to help the Crew get the draw.
Columbus will still be without striker Gyasi Zardes (USA) and midfielder Liam Fraser (Canada) on Saturday as they play in the Gold Cup. Kevin Molino and Derrick Etienne Jr. should be back to provide depth while defender Harrison Afful also returns from a red-card suspension.
The Crew offense is controlled by midfielders Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe, and Pedro Santos, especially when Zardes is with USMNT. Zelarayan leads the MLS with four goals from free kicks this season, while Santos leads the Crew with three assists. Nagbe was Man of the Match against Nashville on Wednesday and scored last Saturday against NYCFC.
Atlanta on Franchise Worst Slide
For the first time in their franchise history, Atlanta United has gone nine straight games without a win. They did grab a point on Wednesday in their first game under interim manager Rob Valentino. The draw against Ohio’s other MLS team came on the road in Cincinnati, and now they prepare for a first home game of the post-Heinze era.
With the change in managers, Josef Martinez is back in the fold, and the 2018 MLS MVP has just two goals on the season. The Five Stripes will be without defender Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Brad Guzan who are in the Gold Cup.
Atlanta is in 10th place, seven points behind Columbus, and a surprise favorite in this game. Santiago Sosa will likely draw the task of keeping Zelarayan under wraps. Meanwhile, the struggling offense of the Five Stripes will have to solve the stingiest defense in the Eastern Conference. Columbus has conceded just 12 goals all season, and they have five shutouts.
Atlanta United ML +120. -0.5 (+100)
Columbus Crew ML +245. +0.5 (-165)
Total Goals 2.5. O +100. U -125
First to score: Atlanta -130. Columbus +130 No Goals +675
Even without Zardes and company, this is a game the Crew need to win if they are going to get in the position to defend their title. Last season Columbus took care of teams down in the standings and picked up three points at a time when given the opportunity. The offense goes the way of Zelarayan, and the defense needs to avoid the silly mistakes to keep the Crew in line for a win.
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