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Massive Predictions: D.C. United at Columbus Crew SC

Can Crew SC get off the snide and finally take three points?

Wednesday’s match with Toronto FC was supposed to be the game that turned things around for Columbus Crew SC. This week was billed as one of the most important in recent memory, with two games against Eastern Conference opposition and a chance to move up the standings.

Wednesday came and left with just a point, despite playing a TFC side that left multiple stars at home.

The attention for Crew SC now turns to Saturday when long-time rivals D.C. United comes to MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Red haven’t had the most successful season, but currently sit closer to the red line that indicates a playoff team than Columbus.

Five wins and 21 points have United sitting four points above the Black & Gold and just one point behind the New England Revolution for sixth place in the East. Like Crew SC, D.C. has battled through injuries that saw goalkeeper Bill Hamid miss time and midfielder Chris Rolfe still out.

This week remains important for the Black & Gold and a win in this contest would make things seem better moving forward. Can Columbus do it? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Sam Fahmi

Columbus Crew SC DID NOT show up for a game against horribly depleted TFC. I will not give up on the season until after the transfer window, but this team at it's current state CAN NOT compete. I am interested in the deployment of the rotating No. 10 spot that was attempted in the TFC game.
D.C. United 2  Columbus Crew SC 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

Crew SC were disappointed to not grab a win against Toronto and this puts them in quite the dire position. Sitting at the bottom of the league table, some changes must be made, signings must be made, and performances need to rise. After Wednesday’s match, which featured a limp Toronto team, I do not have much faith going into Saturday’s match. The Crew team very well may be fatigued and there is not a host of offensive players to rotate. D.C. is only in seventh place in the East and not in great form, however did not have a midweek game. The Crew has had enough trouble nabbing goals as it is.
D.C. United 2  Columbus Crew SC 1

Kris Landis

Slightly better isn't good enough, and that's what we saw Wednesday night against a much depleted TFC. Dilly Duka didn't look terrible in the playmaker role, but he didn't look particularly convincing either. This team is still lacking that attacking spark. It is, essentially, must-win time, and I think Gregg Berhalter needs to throw caution to the wind, roll the dice, and change it up. But will (or can) he? From what we know of him, probably not. I still think a Cedrick Mabwati- Justin Meram-Ethan Finlay attacking line (behind Ola, of course) would give this team the best chance at finding that spark needed. I'm hoping we see some form of that at some point. If we do, the Crew may be able to pull something off.

But knowing Berhalter the way we do, I just can't bring myself to expect it.
Columbus Crew SC 1  D.C. United 1

Matt Weisgarber

Columbus put all their eggs in the basket of this three-game stretch. Losing a late lead in game one is probably the worst thing that could have happened. I expect the boys in black and gold to come out flat and get rail roaded at home.
D.C. United 3  Columbus Crew SC 1

Andrew Todd-Smith

The upgrade of Federico Higuain's injury status from out to questionable is definitely a good sign for Crew SC's chances of getting to reincorporate its star No. 10 into the lineup soon. But Gregg Berhalter isn't going to rush the Argentine's return and risk his health. Thus, the reality is that Dilly Duka and a hopefully close-to-game-shape Mohammed Saeid can find answers in his stead. The offense is literally not scoring, as evidenced by Harrison Afful's goal being the lone one Wednesday versus Toronto, a team that on paper Columbus should have been able to beat by more than one. The defense has been good but not great, and a handful of miscues have proven costly. Ethan Finlay has been ineffectual and needs to keep working to cross or attack. Justin Meram is crucial to any success the side might enjoy against D.C. United. But until we see a reason to have faith in chance-creating precision and consistency, a win is simply possible and not probable.
Columbus Crew SC 2  D.C. United 2

Josh Mlot

I really hate this matchup. At the same time, a clash in styles offers up the opportunity for Crew SC to completely fall on its face — as it's done against bunkering teams — or really explode if it can do a couple of things right. This game is all about an early first goal. If Columbus can get one, the whole game changes. If it can't... well, the longer this thing stays scoreless or D.C. is playing ahead, the more this looks bad for the Black & Gold. United is going to be tough to break down and Columbus just hasn't shown the ability to break things down. Loyd Sam also creates an interesting wrinkle for D.C., because any minutes he sees are a crapshoot as far as how it alters DCU's ability to attack effectively. I'm going to, sadly, go with a repeat of the midweek score and, in all honesty, I worry I might get this one wrong for the worse.
Columbus Crew SC 1   D.C. United 1

Patrick Murphy

There’s been lots of talk of missing Federico Higuain and Gaston Sauro, but little about the impact Waylon Francis has on this team. While Harrison Afful provides offense on the right, Francis actually serves a decent ball and seems to know where Ola Kamara wants it. Why he didn’t start midweek, especially after not much time in the XI, is mind boggling to me.

United isn’t a team that would normally scare me, but the Toronto team we saw on Wednesday isn’t one that should have been allowed to be fielded. I’m sure D.C. will look to do the same things as other opponents and attempt to frustrate Crew SC with men behind the ball and hit Columbus on the counter. The Black & Red have the personnel to do it. Fortunately for you all, I won’t be at the game so you know what that means.
Columbus Crew SC 2  D.C. United 1

Patrick Guldan

Both teams are coming off of disappointing performances and are looking to rebound. There is potential for another hot and muggy night in Columbus, so that could be the great equalizer. While Crew SC are likely the more tired side, both will be hungry for three points. D.C. knows how to play compact defense and are well positioned to stymie an out of sync Crew SC offense. Needing incisiveness from attacking midfield, it may be time to bring Justin Meram centrally as Mohammed Saied, Hector Jimenez, and Dilly Duka haven't inspired in that spot. He has underrated vision and shows a willingness to attack one on one. A fresh Cedrick Mabwati might be the person to aid on the left. He's getting his fitness back and presents a different look from Ethan Finlay on the right. More comfortable one on one. On the defense... just two words: hold fast.
Columbus Crew SC  2 D.C. United 1

What do you think about this match? Is there any faith left out there in Crew SC Nation? Let us know in the comment section below.