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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Sporting Kansas City

Can the Black & Gold break the slump on the road in Kansas City?

Columbus Crew SC has been busy since we last saw the team up close? On Saturday, it was a dramatic, lat equalizer for the Black & Gold last Saturday against the New York Red Bulls. in order to preserve a 1-1 draw at home. This was followed by a Tuesday loss to the Chicago Fire that eliminated Columbus from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Now Crew SC must focus on Sporting Kanas City in this Sunday evening clash.

SKC is coming off a similar week. Last Saturday, Sporting drew 2-2 with the Montreal Impact on the road and were also knocked out of the Open Cup midweek, 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo.

Neither side is having the year the team expected, but we’ve reached the summer and it’s time for teams to put up or shut up. We know there will be fireworks, but will it be on the field or just part of the postgame festivities?

Let’s see what our staff of experts thinks.

Josh Mlot

This feels like an evenly-matches contest. There are two clubs who have talent but are struggling to find consistent form. It kind of feels like Columbus is just going to, at best, tread water until Federico Higuain comes back or a true replacement is brought in. Still, things don't feel dire for the Black & Gold. This feels like a low-scoring point on the road, which I think would be a good point.

Columbus Crew SC 1 Sporting Kansas City 1

Matt Weisgarber

Predicting anything other than a draw seems foolish right now. With Mohammed Saied possibly missing out, I think the boys in black will actually have a better chance at getting something out of the game. I love Saied but with a broken back, he hasn't been much use on the field. Crew SC need either a creative spark or a deft finisher Sunday to get something out of the game. A win takes both. I think Columbus gets one of the two.

Columbus Crew SC 1 Sporting Kansas City 1

Patrick Guldan

The injury bug is still biting hard. Federico Higuain is still on the long term injury list so Crew SC are scraping for a playmaker. Without a fully fit and fluent playmaker, this team struggles more than usual on offense. Mohammed Saied is playing through pain and it appears it’s limiting his effectiveness. Cristian Martinez shows bursts of skill, but is 19. He’s up and down. Emil Larsen is in Denmark at the moment. With the attack already seen as regimented, now Columbus loses it’s central attacking options. They will struggle, while SKC is likewise still trying to figure out their season, but they are more heathy and have more options at their disposal.

Sporting Kansas City 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Patrick Murphy

Crew SC doesn’t have things going in the right direction. The start to the season was slow and just as the team began to figure things out, the offense was traded. In the midst of adjusting to a new striker, injuries hit Columbus worse than they have in years. Results haven’t been there and I’m not sure we will see much better this week. Sporting is also a team in figure-it-out mode, but they’ve coped much better. Going into Kansas City isn’t usually a recipe for success for the Black & Gold. Why change that now?

Sporting Kansas City 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Sam Fahmi

Providing any sort of analysis of what this team may or may not do is futile. Right now, regardless of how they change things around, this team is in a funk. They are playing below their capabilities even considering the missing pieces. Even a good result would be deceiving as things are bound to change come the summer window. My best hope is a tie, regardless of number of goals. In reality though, I see a KC being more hungry to cross that playoff line and start getting into a playoff position.

Sporting Kansas City 3 Columbus Crew SC 1

Andrew Todd-Smith

The recurring theme here is that Columbus Crew SC has to figure itself out first before we pundits can have a glimmer of hope at doing so successfully. And while it is easy for we observers to take the U.S. Open Cup defeat to lowly Chicago with a grain of salt, one certainly has to consider the impact it has on the mindset in the locker room. The Black & Gold were able to salvage a point in the final minutes against New York Red Bulls last week, but all that did was take focus off how poorly the offense played for the first 80 minutes. Injuries are an explanation but not an excuse, and the lack of a true No. 10 right now spells trouble. Until some consistency develops, the prospect of this Crew SC team winning on the road isn't a safe one. Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi and Rodger Espinoza will make life difficult for Columbus. But, then again, Crew SC beat the RSL, team that defeated SKC a week prior, in May because anything can happen in MLS. Let's just try to have fun deciphering who exactly this team want to be when it shows up tonight.