Columbus Crew vs. Atlanta United Betting Preview

Columbus Crew vs. Atlanta United Betting Preview

Barry Devoe
3 months ago
4 min read
Columbus Crew SC forward Kevin Molino celebrates his goal with teammates

The Columbus Crew moved back into fifth place last weekend with a 1-1 draw at Colorado Rapids. As they prepare to host Atlanta United, the Crew know they need to continue racking up points to solidify their playoff chances and positioning. Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET at Lower.com Field and will air nationally on FS1 and Fox Deportes.

These teams played in Atlanta back in May, and the Crew won 2-1 with goals from Jonathan Mensah and Erik Hurtado. Atlanta won last year in Columbus 3-2, and the visiting team has won five of the last six games between these teams. All time, Columbus leads the series 6-5 with a draw, but they are just 2-3 at home against the Five Stripes.

Crew Return Home for Playoff Push

Columbus picked up points for the 11th time in their last 12 games with a 1-1 draw at Colorado Rapids on Saturday. Cucho scored off a great feed from Pedro Santos in the ninth minute to put Columbus on top.

The Crew came out of the draw in Colorado without any new injury concerns. Midfielder Kevin Molino didn’t dress and remains questionable with a leg injury, but manager Caleb Porter has plenty of options when it comes to lineup selection.

Porter prefers to lineup in a 4-2-3-1 with Cucho up top and Derrick Etienne Jr. and Luis Diaz on the wings. Lucas Zelarayan takes the center midfield position in front of Artur and Darlington Nagbe. Mensah runs the defense from the center, partnered with Milos Degenek, while Santos and Steven Moreira are outside backs.

In Colorado, Porter used Hurtado and James Igbekeme off the bench in attacking roles in the second half. Aidan Morris subbed on for Artur in the final moments as the Brazilian midfielder is one yellow card away from suspension.

Goalkeeper Eloy Room has started all 24 games in goal for the Crew this season. The veteran has made 65 saves and allowed 23 goals while keeping seven clean sheets. He has one clean sheet in his career against Atlanta United.

The 1-1 draw was the seventh tie in 12 road games for the Crew this season. They are now unbeaten in six straight road games, the second-best road streak in team history. Columbus has five wins and three draws from 12 home games this season, and three of the next four games are in Columbus.

Zelarayan leads Columbus with eight goals on the season, including four in his last five games. Cucho has six goals in seven games since joining the team, while Etienne has five gals on the season.

Atlanta Struggles on the Road

Atlanta United lost at home for the first time since early July when they fell to New York Red Bulls 2-1 on Wednesday night. United barely avoided the clean sheet in front of more than 42,000 fans as Josef Martinez scored in the 94th minute. While Columbus has been off all week, Atlanta has a short turnaround to travel to Ohio for Sunday’s nationally televised game.

Manager Gonzalo Pineda will likely rotate his starters some with the two-game week. He lined up in a 4-1-4-1 against the Red Bulls with Martinez up top and a midfield of Ronaldo Cisneros, Marcelino Moreno, Thiago Almada and Luiz Araujo. Santiago Sosa was in front of the back four that consisted of Ronaldo Hernandez, Juan Sanchez, Alan Franco, and Caleb Wiley.

Atlanta has battled injuries all season, with four starters lost for the year. Defender Brooks Lennon has returned from injury and played as a sub twice in August but hasn’t yet started a game since mid-June.

Goalkeeper Rocco Rios Nova has allowed 18 goals in 12 starts while making 28 saves. He has two clean sheets but has allowed five goals over the last three games. Cisneros leads Atlanta with seven goals, while Martinez has six.

United has just one road win on the season in 12 games. They have drawn four times on the road, but only seven of their 29 points have come outside of Georgia. They have gone nine straight road games without a win, dating back to a 1-0 victory over last-place D.C. United on April 2.

Betting Analysis

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Columbus Crew -120 Moneyline

Atlanta United +280 Moneyline

Draw +280

Total Goals: 2.5. Over -135. Under +110

Both teams to Score: Yes -150. No +120

Tied with New England on 34 points, Columbus could end the weekend anywhere from fifth to 10th place. Having three of the next four games at home, all against teams below them in the standings, this is a golden chance for the Crew to make a move toward the playoffs.

They need to keep an eye on Martinez, who is playing well and has four career goals against Columbus, but the rest of the Atlanta squad leaves little threat on goal.

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