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Massive Predictions: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC

Two struggling sides meet. What do we think will be the result? What do you think?

For Columbus Crew SC it’s been two consecutive 1-1 draws to begin the current three-match home stand which ends with Orlando City SC on Saturday night. The Black & Gold have not won a match in seven games, going 0-3-4 in the process.

Orlando City are going through a rough stretch of its own. Heading into this match, the Lions are 0-2-2 over the last four matches and have one win in the previous eight contest. This has led to the firing of Adrian Heath and the recent appointment of Jason Kreis has head coach — who will not take over sideline duties until Monday.

With the way things have gone lately, both sides are desperate for a win. Each of these clubs currently sits outside the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with Orlando in eighth (22 points) and Crew SC behind them in ninth (18 points).

Both teams could get a boost with the return of their creative playmakers in midfield. Federico Higuain was back in training over a week ago and Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter would not rule out his No. 10 from returning to the lineup for the first time since June 1. Kaka has not featured for OCSC in three matches but is expected to play a part in this match.

With the struggles of these two teams, what does are staff believe will happen in this match? Read on to find out.

Kris Landis

I said on the podcast this week I expected a nil-nil, and I still think that's most likely. The news of Kaka being back in training worries me, but I doubt that OCSC risk their star player on a trip to Columbus. I think this match will be a struggle for a Crew SC team who haven't been able to find a spark offensively since the loss of their No. 10, and I don't think any answers are on the horizon. With the lack of creativity in the center of the park the Black & Gold will need that spark to come from elsewhere, particularly its struggling wingers (whoever get the start) and overlapping full-backs. On the other side of the ball the Crew will need to maintain their focus for the whole 90 minutes. If they do that they'll feel they have at least some shot of keeping the Purple Haze off the score sheet, especially should their star Brazilian be out.

Columbus Crew SC 0 Orlando City SC 0

Patrick Murphy

These are two teams that are going the wrong way right now. Although Crew SC haven’t been losing games at home, it feels like forever since they were winning them. We seem to say it every match, but things need to start turning around soon (then the rest of the East keeps playing poorly). I think this could be a relatively entertaining match, especially if Kaka and Federico Higuain play. I would love to see the wingers for Columbus actually get on the stat sheet, but it’s probably more likely Ola Kamara pulls something out of his hat. It’s a battle between the two teams with the most ties in the league, so what would you expect?

Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 2

Sam Fahmi

Two teams in complete shambles. One has already lost a coach and just hired a new one. This has all the makings of a supremely boring game. And if the last two games for Crew SC are of any indication, 0-0 would not be far fetched. I want to say 0-0 will be the final, but Ola Kamara is making things out of nothings. Just on sheer dislike for Orlando, Crew SC may manage to pull of a WIN.

Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 0

Josh Mlot

It's hard to feel good about Columbus right now, but Orlando City has issues. Two teams with some problems? This will either be a boatload of fun or like watching paint dry. It just feels wrong to predict victories at this point, but the odds say it has to happen at some point, right? And playing at home against a struggling team transitioning into a new coaching regime would certainly seem like the time, if ever, for victory to occur. That, alone, is why I predict:

Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

Orlando City's new coach Jason Kreis will not be making his debut against Crew SC, so I believe we can expect much the same of OCSC as recent weeks. For Columbus, Ethan Finlay may regain his spot in the starting XI for Cedrick Mabwati with the rest of the lineup unchanged from last week. Federico Higuain may see some minutes but I don't expect him to start. Tactically, Gregg Berhalter may opt to try the narrow tactic used in the first half against D.C. United, with Finlay and Justin Meram playing as interior wingers. New center-back signings Nicolai Naess for Crew SC and Jose Aja for OCSC will not be available for this match.

Both teams feature high scoring strikers in Cyle Larin and Ola Kamara who are currently tied for second in non-penalty goals in the MLS (non penalty goals being the stat that truly counts in my book). With both teams in need of three points expect direct and aggressive play. I have to favor Columbus in this one as they are at home and Orlando has conceded 11 goals in it's last 4 away matches.

Columbus Crew SC 3 Orlando City SC 2

Patrick Guldan

Expect a slow game. With oppressive heat, even the possible return of each team's key playmakers won't be enough to counteract the slow pitch and sapping effects of temperatures that may still be in the 90s at game time. Passes won't be as crisp and runs will be a little heavy legged. The difference may come down to the team that weathers the conditions better. That might be the team that didn't have to take a flight to get to the game.

Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 1

Matt Weisgarber

This has to be a win. It's the refrain that will continue until the Crew SC win a couple games. Orlando looks terrible, and so do the boys in Black and Gold. I see this as a draw. Kamara will score again and Columbus will collapse late again under the pressure.

Columbus Crew SC 1 Orlando City SC 1

Andrew Todd-Smith

Crew SC has shown glimpses of having figured things out as a cohesive 11-man side, only to concede result-changing goals late in a way that shakes the team's foundation and make observers question its ability to close a performance fundamentally. This has been an agonizing exercise in giving an injury-altered squad the benefit of the doubt, only to have good wins crumble into lackluster draws and mediocre draws turn into disappointing losses. The foundation is there, but Columbus has to be able to string together a complete 90-minute showing at home, and it could very well come against Orlando City SC. The singular miscue that compromises a clean sheet will still happen but the offense will coalesce just enough to give the home club the edge come final whistle. I like Higuáin to come in as a substitute in his first appearance back from sports hernia surgery as well to give the midfield a late boost.

Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 1

So there you have it. Are you as optimistic as most of our staff that Crew SC can take advantage of a struggling Orlando City? Do you believe this game will follow the trend and result in a draw? Let us know your predictions in the comment section below.