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Massive Predictions: San Jose Earthquakes at Columbus Crew SC

No one knows what to think any more. So we’ll tell you what we think.

Black & Gold fans thought things were on the up. After a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution last week, Columbus Crew SC appeared to have figured out what kept them winless for 10 matches.

Then on Wednesday night, it was back down the rabbit hole to this strange and disappointing season for Crew SC.

Now it’s back to square one. Where does this team go from here? Was it fatigue or is this just what we should expect from Crew SC?

Let’s see what our experts think as the San Jose Earthquakes come to town for the only meeting in 2016.

Patrick Murphy

I wasn’t entirely surprised with the letdown on Wednesday night. The Union are a good side and know how to get results on the road. What did surprise me was the lack of momentum Crew SC carried into that game after the team seemed to be on a bit of a high following its first win in 10 contests.

The Earthquakes aren’t a bad team. Like Columbus, San Jose sits outside the playoff like, but the club plays in a much tougher Western Conference. I expect another battle. Both teams played on Wednesday (the Quakes tied New England 0-0 at home) so neither will be fresh. I think you might see a couple of changes from Gregg Berhalter and that might spark something.
Columbus Crew SC 2  San Jose Earthquakes 1

Matt Weisgarber

I hate so much about the way Crew SC chooses to be. There is no analysis to write that hasn't been written. Which is an indictment in my creativity and Berhalter's coaching. Columbus loses in heartbreaking and shocking manner.
San Jose Earthquakes 3  Columbus Crew SC 1

Sam Fahmi

HOLY CRAP, that was some awful soccer against the Philadelphia Union. I will really place my season on this coming game. Columbus Crew SC are TWENTY POINTS out of first place in the East, and SIX points below the playoff line. I may be wrong in pinning the whole year on a game against a Western Conference team, but with 10 games left after Saturday and only THREE of them being at home, this team is finally in a hole too deep for them to dig out. I would remain optimistic had we seen any progress or improvement in play. What we saw Wednesday though was a complete lack of communication, lack of cohesion, and major lapses of focus. This team, regardless of what they say in public, knows that it is almost out of the postseason, and they looked like it on Wednesday.
San Jose Earthquakes 3  Columbus Crew SC 1

Andrew Todd-Smith

The pieces are there. Largely, everyone is healthy. The chances are at times roughshod and carelessly handled, but they have certainly come. There's something to be said for a team that refuses to give up the ship, despite the horizon looking bleak but for a rapid change of course, to use nautical metaphors. I believe that San Jose is a very good team whose bread and butter is engineering their way through low-scoring defensive slugfests. Chris Wondolowski is a terror to defend, but he is only one man.

The key for Columbus is to play like they have nothing to lose: full and unrelenting offensive acceleration is the only way to ameliorate the struggles of late. The Black & Gold are terrible at defending a lead, particularly as the night wears on. Boost possession and passing accuracy even higher is the answer. Making the Earthquakes really have to work for opportunities can be a viable strategy, provided the Crew SC defense stays poised and organized for a counterattack that might break open at any moment. Even if the success rate of attacking sequences is low, the volume of attempts to create them has to be colossally high for Crew SC to be able to break back through into the win column. The players know what's at stake. Home field advantage is something they only get to enjoy three more times after tonight. I see multiple scares late, but Columbus manages what seems like a miraculous return to form in outworking the Quakes. They'll be exhausted by the final whistle, though. Set pieces end up playing an important role in the interconference showdown. Meram scores.
Columbus Crew SC 2  San Jose Earthquakes 1

Patrick Guldan

It’s been a long, frustrating week in a long and frustrating season. A crushing loss on Wednesday, a short turnaround, and stuck in last place, the game against San Jose is more than anything about response. It’s how does Gregg Berhalter respond to the poor performance on Wednesday and how to the players respond to the fatigue and disappointment? On the first, it appears Berhalter has shortened his bench beyond injury with Cedrick Mabwati falling out of favor and limited choices to rotate. On the players side, it’s how do you push through the third game in heat in eight days. With temperatures in the upper 80s for game time again, it will likely be a sluggish affair. It will be a test to see who can raise their game to the occasion. Crew SC are in a little better position to do that. They didn’t have to travel midweek, whereas San Jose travelled across the country. There is a rare better chance to extend the season than a struggling Western Conference foe on a cross-country trip on short rest.
Columbus Crew SC 2  San Jose Earthquakes 1