NYCFC v. Columbus Crew Betting Preview
This has been a big week off the field for Columbus Crew as the fans won a stalemate with the organization and got their team name back. Now the Crew head on the road in desperate need of a positive result when they head into Red Bull Arena to face NYCFC on Saturday. The defending champions have just one win from five games on the season, while NYCFC has two wins and two draws.
The Crew and NYCFC haven’t met yet in 2021, and they will play three times in the MLS regular season. The home team has won four straight in the series, with Columbus winning the final matchup of 2020 by the score of 3-1 in October.
Crew Struggling on Offense
Columbus is having quite the championship hangover so far in 2021, and the offense is the biggest culprit. In five league games, the Crew have been shutout four times, with all three goals coming in a 3-1 home win over D.C. United on May 8. They have just one point from three road games with final scores of 0-0, 2-0, and 1-0 away from Historic Crew Stadium.
Playmaker Lucas Zelarayan pulls the strings for Caleb Porter’s offense. He has a goal this season, the only goal a Crew player has scored as the other two were own goals by D.C. United. Striker Gyasi Zardes, who scored 12 goals last season in 21 games, is scoreless so far this season, as is newcomer Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Keeper Eloy Room is the only Crew player to start all five games so far this season. He has allowed four goals and has 10 saves on the campaign. Captain Jonathan Mensah anchors the defense in front of Room with Harrison Afful and Josh Williams.
The good news for the Crew is they are finally back on a regular schedule. With their CONCACAF Champions League games included, they played nine games between April 8 and May 16, including one stretch of six games in 19 days. For the first time in weeks, they are playing with a full seven days rest and will again before they host Toronto FC on May 29.
NYCFC’s Streaky Side
So far this season, NYCFC has been very consistent on defense and very streaky on offense. Seven of their 10 goals came in a two-game stretch to end April and start May, including a 5-0 thrashing of FC Cincinnati. This will be their first home game at Red Bull Arena, with the first two home games this season being at Yankee Stadium, which is unavailable this weekend.
Valentin Castellanos and Jesus Medina each have four goals on the season, with the latter scoring the only goal against Toronto FC last weekend. Castellanos scored in each of the Pigeons' first four games before being held scoreless against Toronto. Icelandic defender Gudmundur Thorarinsson and an own goal have accounted for NYCFC’stwo other goals, while Anton Tinnerholm leads the way with two assists.
Captain Sean Johnson has started all five games in goal. He has allowed just four goals while making 13 saves. Johnson has two clean sheets and has only allowed one goal at home this season.
NYCFC are -134 favorites, with the Crew as +370 underdogs. A draw is +265, and the total is 2.5.
Neither team has played in a game with more than 2.5 goals in their last five games combined. Both defenses have been stellar, so don’t be surprised if the final scoreline is 1-0 or 1-1. Columbus is the more desperate team for a positive result, and it will be interesting to see if they make any changes as they can't afford to fall further behind in the standings.
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