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Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United 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. But the last 30 minutes were a different story, especially after the introduction of new signee Cucho Hernandez. The former Watford striker ended up with the game winner in the 83rd minute as the Crew rallied to win 3-2.
Next, Columbus stays on the road to face D.C. United, a team that was embarrassed 7-0 at Philadelphia Union on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Audi Field in D.C. Columbus won 3-1 in D.C. last year and have won three of the last four games between the two Eastern Conference squads.
Cucho Brings New Element
Columbus hasn’t had success from their strikers this season as Gyasi Zardes had just one goal before being traded and Miguel Berry has two goals in 13 starts. Cucho is looking to change that and if Saturday is any indication of what he can bring to Columbus, the Crew can get right back into the East playoff race.
Midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. scored the opener on Saturday off a feed from Lucas Zelarayan. Etienne tied the game 12 minutes later, with Luis Diaz providing the assist. Diaz also threaded the needle on the ball to spring Cucho for the game-winner and Columbus won despite being outshot 13-9.
Etienne has five goals on the season, one more than Zelarayan. Etienne also leads the team with five assists while Diaz and Zelarayan have two. The subs used by Caleb Porter were crucial on Saturday as Diaz, Etienne and Cucho all came off the bench to have an impact.
There’s no doubt that Cucho changed the game in his 30 minutes of action. He attracted attention, created space for his teammates and held the ball to keep possession. And he rose to the moment with a fantastic finish to win the game, joining Zelarayan as the only two Crew players to score in their debuts in the last five years.
The defense had a rare let down in the first half on Saturday. The game marked the first time since May 21 that the Crew allowed more than one goal in a game. Columbus is now on a six-match unbeaten streak with three wins and three draws.
United Need Bounce Back
Friday was an absolute disaster for D.C. United as they tied the league record for most lopsided loss ever. United gave up five goals in the first half, lost 7-0 and if it wasn’t for a penalty kick save they would’ve had the worst loss in MLS history. They were outshot 23-11, put just three shots on goal and lost defender Brad Smith to injury.
The silver lining is that the loss only counts as one loss. United are in 13th place in the East, nine points out of a playoff spot. They have lost three of their last four games and are 3-5 with one draw at home.
Taxiarchis Fountas leads D.C. with nine goals on the season while Ola Kamara has six. Michael Estrada is the only other player with more than one goal and he has netted four. Those three have combined for 19 of United’s 23 MLS goals.
United has been shutout in two of the last four games and their only win in that span was a 5-3 win at Orlando City on July 4. Fountas had a hat-trick in that win after also scoring the game before against Nashville.
With the seven goals allowed on Saturday, United has allowed at least two goals in seven of their last eight games. In that span they have been outscored 26-11.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid is out with a ruptured ligament in his hand. Rafael Romo has started the last five games, allowing 16 goals and making 20 saves while going 1-4. Jon Kempin is also on the roster and started two games early in the season with five saves and one win.
Columbus Crew (+180) moneyline
D.C. United (+135) moneyline
Total Goals: 2.5. Over (-120). Under (-105).
First Goal: Columbus Crew (+105). D.C. United (-125). No Goals (+1100).
The Crew really need to take the momentum from Saturday’s comeback win and take it to Audi Field on Wednesday night. They sit in eighth place, one point behind FC Cincinnati, who they host on Sunday. This is a busy time for all MLS teams with a jam-packed schedule and Porter will need to rotate the squad to keep fresh legs.
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