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Columbus Crew vs Philadelphia Union Bet Preview
The Columbus Crew is attempting a late-season push to get into a playoff spot when they visit the Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon. The Union is a heavy favorite at home with a -169 Moneyline. Meanwhile, Columbus has a Moneyline of +420 with the Moneyline for a draw set at +300.
The Crew is currently ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, putting them five points out of a playoff spot. With just seven matches left in the regular season, Columbus is starting to run out of time. However, the Crew have two wins and a draw in their last three league matches and will be riding a high after lifting the Campeones Cup earlier in the week after a 2-0 win over Cruz Azul.
As for the Union is coming off a disappointing midweek draw against the New York Red Bulls. That result should break up some of Philadelphia’s momentum after winning back-to-back matches. The Union can take some comfort in knowing that they currently occupy one of the seven playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, although they have just a two-point cushion.
Always Tough to Crack
Since the start of the season, Philadelphia has been one of the best defensive teams in Major League Soccer. They’ve conceded just 26 goals in 26 matches behind Jamaican international Andre Blake. In his 21 starts this season, Blake has kept nine clean sheets, which means opposing teams have just over a 50% chance of scoring even one goal when Blake is in the net.
On the other side, the Union has a solid but unspectacular attack. Polish striker Kacper Przybylko leads Philadelphia with nine goals on the season, including three in his last three games to coincide with the Union being in good form. But if it’s not Przybylko scoring goals for Philly, the Union can be overly reliant on set pieces to manufacture offense.
Crew Comes Alive
For Columbus, Sunday’s game is all about keeping up the momentum from the Campeones Cup victory earlier in the week. While the Crew has an attack that’s middle of the pack, things are starting to improve with 12 goals in the club’s last seven matches, including the cup final against Cruz Azul. Most importantly, Gyasi Zardes has scored three goals in his last two league matches, rounding into form at the right time of the season.
On the other hand, Zardes has scored the Crew’s last three goals in league play. Lucas Zelarayan, who is the team’s co-leading scorer with Zardes, went into a cold spell in September. If Zardes isn’t able to keep up his good form, it’s hard to envision where Columbus can go for goals if Zelarayan can’t get back on track.
Down to the Wire
As the betting odds suggest, the Crew have their back against the wall in this game. However, there has been just one total goal scored in two previous matches between these teams this season. Sunday’s match is likely to follow a similar pattern and could be decided by one mistake or one moment of magic, giving Columbus a fighting chance to pull off a surprise win and claim a much-needed three points.
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