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Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire Betting Preview
A week off to work on things in practice might be just what the Columbus Crew needed in the midst of a three-game losing streak. They return to action this weekend against the red hot Chicago Fire, who haven’t lost in the last five and have just one home loss since June. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday from Soldier Field in Chicago and will be televised on ESPN+.
These two teams are legendary rivals dating back to the mid-90s, with the Crew as a founding member of MLS and the Fire joining just two years later. Columbus has the best of the rivalry lately, including a 2-0 win in June as Gyasi Zardes bagged a brace. The last visit to Chicago resulted in a 2-2 draw in 2020, but the Fire haven’t won in the last eight against Columbus dating back to April 8, 2018.
Crew Desperate for a Result
A rare three-game losing streak in which the defense has fallen apart has the Crew sputtering into August. After two straight clean sheets, the Crew have allowed 11 goals in the last three games, all losses. To make matters worse, the 4-2 loss to D.C. United and the 3-2 loss to Atlanta United were home games at new Lower.com Field.
The Crew have struggled out of the gate and will need to work on their focus from the start this weekend. Last Sunday, Atlanta United scored in the fifth minute, and a half-hour later had a 2-0 lead. D.C. United scored in the 19th minute before leading 3-0 at the half, and NYCFC scored in the 14th minute en route to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Lineup choices will be crucial this week, with the Crew finally getting everyone back in for a full week of practice after the Gold Cup and multiple injuries. The Crew haven’t started the same back four in consecutive games since June 27 - July 3.
The Crew now sit in seventh place with 24 points in the East, just one ahead of Montreal in the race for the final playoff spot. The good news is that third place is only four points away, and even second place is just six points off.
Chicago Fire Turning Things Around
Since getting drubbed 5-1 in Nashville on July 17, the Fire have turned things around and slowly but surely started to climb up the standings. They have a five-match unbeaten streak with three draws and two wins, including a 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls on Sunday. They haven’t allowed more than two goals in any of the last five games and lost just once in the last seven at home.
That run still has the Fire on the outside of the playoff race as they sit on 17 points, in 11th place in the East. They trail Columbus by seven points and Montreal by six, which makes this a crucial home game for the Fire to not drop points.
Reigning MLS Player of the Week, Luka Stojanovic leads the Fire with five goals on the season. The midfielder had two of those against Red Bulls on Sunday, both in the first eight minutes of the game. He has been a big part in the Fire’s resurgence this summer after missing last season with an MCL tear suffered in July.
Columbus Crew: +235 Moneyline. +0.5 goals (-160)
Chicago Fire: +110 Moneyline. +0.5 goals (-110)
Total Goals: 2.5. Over -115, Under -110
First Goal: Columbus +120. Chicago Fire -130. No Goals +750
It is strange to see the defending champions as an underdog, and a heavy one at that. But the way these teams have played the last couple of weeks, Chicago definitely has the momentum and the confidence. Columbus has the better talent, though, and they’ve had a week to get everyone back on the same page. Bet on Caleb Porter figuring it out sooner rather than later.
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