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

The Black & Gold are back on the road this week. Do we see three points in the near future?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive week, Columbus Crew SC is on the road, this time making the team’s final regular season trip to RFK Stadium to take on D.C. United.

In the early days of Major League Soccer, this matchup was heated, but has lost some of its luster over the past several seasons. But in the young weeks of the 2017 season, this game becomes rather important for both sides.

Crew SC and United enter the game with the same 0-1-1 record. While Black & Gold fans are unhappy with the slow start, it could be worse as D.C. is yet to find the back of the net this year.

Both teams enter this game on the back of a painful defeat on the road. Columbus controlled much of the game, but lost 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo last Saturday, while D.C. was shellacked by New York City FC, 4-0, on Sunday.

Can Crew SC get its first win of 2017? What about United? Will the men in black and red finally score a goal?

Let’s see how our staff believes this game will play out.

Kris Landis

Crew SC head to face D.C., one of the few teams who can claim to be starting off worse than the Black & Gold. Crew SC will look to start off much better than they did at Houston, and I expect (hope?) to see this team come out with some passion. Gregg Berhalter made what was, in essence, a send-a-message sub at halftime in Houston, and I expect to see a reaction from his starters, particularly guys like Federico Higuain, who have struggled to start the season.

This may be Pipa's best chance to get back on track early in this season, facing a defense that has struggled. D.C. don't typically employ the high press, at least not in the style of Houston, which means that Crew SC may have some time on the ball, and room to operate. Whoever is partnering Wil Trapp in midfield, Artur, Abu, or perhaps even Tony Tchani, will have a key role to play in moving the ball quickly and beating any traps that D.C. will try to employ. If Justin Meram can get in between the lines, he could cause problems.

The other big question is who will step in for Jonathan Mensa? Josh Williams seems the logical choice, and it's the one I hope to see. His veteran presence would do well for a side that's still gelling together. D.C. have struggled offensively this season, but have managed to create (but not finish) chances, so despite the opposition's record the Black & Gold back line will have to be sharp.

In the end I think Crew SC have enough quality to squeak out an ugly win at RFK, picking up three points.
Columbus Crew SC 2 D.C. United 1

Collin Johnson

Last week's match against the Houston Dynamo could not have gone much worse for Crew SC. The team entered the game knowing exactly what Houston would do, but each player appeared to be confused as to how to handle Houston's high press during the match. Like the Dynamo, D.C. United, who have yet to score a goal in the 2017 season, are happy to cede the majority of the possession to Crew SC. D.C. will also attempt to put pressure on Columbus while Crew SC are in possession, but that pressure has been much less effective than Houston's. Columbus should enter this match prepared to dominate possession, take care of the ball while playing out of the back, and finish opportunities in front of the net. But, they should have been prepared to do that last week as well. Until proven wrong, I'm expecting Crew SC to cough up a bad early goal but actually finish off their chances.
Columbus Crew SC 2 D.C. United 1

Ralph Schudel

D.C. United has plenty of opportunities to be dangerous in this match. With MLS mainstays like Steve Birbaum, Lloyd Sam, and Patrick Nyarko they can find there way onto the scoresheet quickly and stay there. After getting throttled 4-0 by NYCFC last week and having yet to score a goal in 2017, there is no doubt that United want to send Crew SC home from RFK one last time with a loss (assuming the two squads don't meet in the playoffs).

Crew SC is once again an interesting case this weekend with a lot of unanswered questions. Who will start in place of Jonathan? Have the kinks been worked out in the offense? Is the timing getting better between the pairings of Meram/Raitala and Afful/Finlay.

Look for Harrison Afful to potentially put on a game-breaking performance. I believe his halftime substitution last week will have him playing with a bit more fire and Crew SC will look to play through him.

BOLD PREDICTION: I think we might see Tony Tchani finally crack the 18.

This will be a hard fought game as D.C. will score their first goal of 2017. Crew SC will take advantage of a fragile United back line and come out on top for their first win of 2017 and their last win at RFK.
Columbus Crew SC 2 D.C. United 1

Nick Clarkson

Both Crew SC and the Black and Red have struggled out of the gate in 2017, with both clubs recording a home draw and road loss in the first two games. This is a battle of teams struggling offensively as D.C. United has been shut out in both games and gave up four goals last week at Yankee Stadium. With that being said, I think Ola Kamara and Columbus will find the back of the net more than once in this one — and despite D.C. making things interesting late with their first goal of the season, the Black & Gold will add insurance late to seal all three points.
Columbus Crew SC 3 D.C. United 1

Josh Mlot

I think both of these teams have questions right now, but I still think D.C. United’s attack is more dangerous than its currently empty account indicates. Combine that with the challenge of winning on the road and I do think this is a tough one for Columbus. To be honest, I know next week will be another tough game against Portland and everyone’s looking for Crew SC to break out of the early-season funk, but I think a point on the road would be a decent result here.
Columbus Crew SC 1, D.C. United 1

Sam Fahmi

Ahhh, the final Columbus Crew SC vs D.C. United game in Raccoon City, AKA RFK stadium. D.C. has not looked that great this season. Then again, neither has Crew SC. This game, between these teams, at this time of year is ripe for experimentations. And because of said experimentations, this game can swing between AMAZING or a total sleeper. Feast or famine. A fiesta of goals or nothing at all. No happy medium. I'll continue to call for ties until we can see some sort of ability to capitalize on the amount of chances created.
Columbus Crew SC 0 D.C. United 0

Josh Enke

It'll be a match played with heart. Both teams will want to rebound from last week.

This one, however, is a win for the Black & Gold. D.C. United has the homefield advantage, but they'll have to battle all game long against the fact they're a garbage team unable to create chances. This crippling inability to threaten the goal will ultimately be their undoing. At halftime, sniffling D.C. fans will likely depart, crawling out of the dumpster that is RFK.

While questions marks remain for the Columbus backline with Jonathan unavailable, Gregg Berhalter has hopefully whipped the boys back into fighting shape. If they've truly put last week behind them, they'll be fine.

Expect Federico Higuain to have a strong night.
Columbus Crew SC 3 D.C. United 1

Guilherme Torres

Columbus Crew SC and D.C. United are winless after two matches and I don't think that is going to change. Both teams are already under pressure and that should make them approach the game a little more cautiously than many might expect.

D.C. is yet to score and Crew SC's offense has been nothing to call home about. I think that the Black & Gold may dominate the game and control possession, as they usually do, but I believe neither team will find the back of the net at the RFK Stadium.
D.C. United 0 Columbus Crew SC 0

Patrick Murphy

This game has me a little unsure. Not because Crew SC are winless and still trying to figure out multiple issues for a new-look team, but rather because I can’t figure either club out.

As Gregg Berhalter said, last Saturday went like the team wanted in the first half except for conceding a silly early goal. Columbus dominated but couldn’t finish chances. United also have looked decent offensively in the first two matches of the season, but are yet to score.

Basically I’m having a hard time getting a read on either side, which makes it tough to predict a game. Therefore I say they split the points in this one.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Patrick Guldan

Both teams have nagging problems. The United attack has been punchless and the Crew SC defense has been leaky (especially on the counter). I don't think either team gets the result or answers they want as United continue to struggle to create chances while Crew SC give up high percentage opportunities.

Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

A rough start for both teams, this match is not a must win but is dire for both teams. D.C. United and Crew SC have both struggled with goal production and giving away unnecessary chances in front of their own nets as through two matches each have conceded four goals. However, things look a little promising for Crew SC considering that they have also scored two goals this season, whereas D.C. has yet to score a single goal.

This match has a chance to be a display of a mix of shaky defences and un-cohesive attacks. These teams have a lot to work out, but the state of D.C. United appears to be worse. Lineup questions for Crew SC as Jonathan is suspended for the match and the midfield has looked weak. I’m predicting that Tony Tchani breaks into the 18, possibly even the starting XI for Artur with Josh Williams taking Jonathan’s spot in the backline.

The Black & Gold grab two goals from a goal and a helper by Justin Meram.

Columbus Crew SC 2 DC United 1

Now it’s your turn. What do you think will happen tonight for Crew SC? Let us know in the comment section below.