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Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire Preview: Betting Odd, Predictions
Saturday night is set to be a historic one for the defending champion Columbus Crew as they say goodbye to Crew Stadium. After three weeks off for the international break, MLS returns to the field this weekend, and Columbus hosts long-time rival Chicago Fire. The pageantry will be on display as the Nordecke say goodbye at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Two of the MLS teams around from the 1990s (Crew 96, Fire 98) these teams have had some legendary battles through the years. Last year Columbus won 3-0 at home, and the teams drew 2-2 in Chicago. The Fire have not knocked off the Crew since April 8, 2018, a span of seven games.
Crew Got Things Going Before Break
The Crew will be without starting goalkeeper Eloy Room on Saturday due to mandatory quarantine. Room played for Curacao during the World Cup qualifiers over the international break. Liam Fraser and Derrick Etienne Jr. were also on international duty but won’t have to quarantine as both are fully vaccinated.
The Crew were able to get winger Kevin Molino and defender Marlon Harrison rested over the break. Luis Diaz has a knee issue, and Artur has been hurting as well. Overall, coach Caleb Porter listed eight players as questionable for Saturday’s game, and Ohio native Evan Bush likely gets his Crew debut in goal.
Columbus finally got the offense going at the end of May. They went on the road and beat NYCFC 2-1 on May 22 and came home a week later to beat Toronto FC 2-1. Playmaker Lucas Zelarayan scored both goals against NYCFC while Diaz and Gyasi Zardes found the net against Toronto.
Zelarayan leads the team with three goals in MLS play, while Pedro Santos has two assists. The Zardes goal was his first of the season after being in double digits last year, and the Crew are still waiting for new signees Molino and Bradley Wright-Phillips to score.
Not only is this game crucial for the Crew because it is the final game in the stadium’s history, but it is also their final home game of June. The team heads on the road to Philadelphia and Austin FC before opening Lower.com Field on July 3 against Eastern Conference-leading New England.
The defending champs sit in sixth place in the East as MLS restarts. They have played one less game than three of the five teams in front of them in the standings and have three wins and two draws from their first seven contests.
Fire Desperate for Goals
The Fire have just one win and one draw from their first seven games, and they are tied for last in the East with FC Cincinnati. The Fire have been outscored 11-4 on the season and have lost all three of their road games. Luka Stojanovic has three of their goals on the season, and they are dead last in the league in goals scored.
They did manage to outshoot Montreal CF 19-6 in their last game before the break but still lost 1-0. The Fire’s lone win came 1-0 at home against Inter Miami CF on May 22, and they have been shut out in four of their last five games.
The fire will be without midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski who is playing in Euro2020 for Poland, and midfielder Gaston Gimenez who is playing for Paraguay in Copa America. They may not have defender Francisco Calvo back from Costa Rica’s National Team while
The Crew are -117 home favorites with the Fire at +340. A draw is +230, and the goal total is 2.5 (-122 over/-104 under).
Even without Room, this should be a walk in the park for the Crew. Chicago has the worst offense in the league, and they are short-handed as well. Zelerayan should be able to pull the strings all game long and boss the midfield as the Crew close out their historic stadium in style.
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