Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire MLS July 9th Betting Preview
The Columbus Crew are trying to get back into the playoff picture as they travel to face last place Chicago Fire this weekend. The Crew are in 10th place, but just three points behind the last playoff spot as they start the second half of the MLS season. Saturday’s kickoff at Soldier Field in Chicago is set for 8:00 p.m. ET streaming on ESPN+ and airing locally in both markets.
The home side in this rivalry is unbeaten in the last 17 matches with 10 wins and seven draws. Dating back to 2008 the road team has won just three times in 37 meetings and the Crew have just one win in their last 20 trips to Chicago. Last year, the Crew won at home 3-0 in November but Chicago took their home game 1-0 in August.
Crew Play Well on Road
Columbus had a win and a draw last week and have played better on the road this season than at home. They drew 0-0 at home against the Philadelphia Union over the weekend after a 2-1 win at Toronto earlier in the week. The Crew have three wins and six draws in their last 11 road games.
The defense has been spectacular this season with 18 goals allowed, the second-lowest total in the league. Only the Union with 13 goals have allowed less and this marks the fourth time since 2018 that Columbus has allowed fewer than 20 goals in the first half of the season.
The offense is hoping to get a boost from new Designated Player Cucho Hernandez. Signed from Watford in the English Premier League, the Colombian is eligible to make his debut in Chicago on Saturday. Last year he scored five goals for Watford and signed a club-record deal with the Crew last month.
The attack, led by Lucas Zelarayan and Derrick Etienne Jr. has been shutout in two of the last three games and they have just two multi-goal games in the last seven outings, dating back to May 7. Zelarayan is always a threat on set pieces but after scoring four goals in the first three games of the season he is still stuck on that number.
Darlington Nagbe has three goals on the season and is the only field player to start all 17 games. Etienne and Erik Hurtado also have three goals while Miguel Berry has two. Zelarayan leads the team with five assists.
Youngsters Jacen Russell-Rowe, Sean Zawadski and Aidan Morris have provided a boost with Artur, Kevin Molino and Yaw Yeboah out injured. All three should be back and contributing soon with Molino coming off the bench Sunday against the Union to play 11 minutes.
Chicago’s Inconsistencies Hold Them Back
Chicago won 1-0 at home against Philadelphia at the end of June in a big upset but then lost 2-1 at San Jose on Sunday. They have played much better at home with two straight wins and overall they have three wins and three draws in eight games at Soldier Field this season. In five of those home games they haven’t allowed a goal and dating back to last season they have 10 clean sheets in their last 15 home matches, the most in MLS.
The Fire are in last place in the East with only 16 goals scored on the season, the lowesttally in the league. They are -8 in goal differential but are +2 in home games, allowing more than one goal in just two home games this season.
Brian Gutierrez scored at the end of the game in San Jose to avoid a shutout, hisfist goal of the season. Federico Navarro had the winning goal against Philadelphia in the last home game, also his first goal of the MLS season.
Former Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri leads the Fire with three goal, matching Kacper Przybylko, However, no other Fire player has more than one goal on the season. Sheridan also has a team-best three assists while Gaston Gimenez, Gutierrez and Jhon Duran have two each.
Columbus Crew (+250) moneyline
Chicago Fire (+100) moneyline
Total Goals: 2.5. Over (+105). Under (-130)
First Goal: Columbus Crew (+130). Chicago Fire (-145). No Goals (+900)
Goals will likely be hard to come by on Saturday in Chicago. Whichever team does manage to score first will likely have a strong advantage as neither team plays well from behind and they tend to panic. If Hernandez debuts for the Crew, keep an eye on the chemistry he builds with the other playmakers and his role leading the offense.
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