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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United

Can the Black & Gold win the first regular season meeting between these two teams?

MLS: New York City FC at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday marks the first regular season, Major League Soccer meeting between Columbus Crew SC and Atlanta United. The two met in the Carolina Challenge Cup in the preseason, with the Black & Gold coming away with a 2-1 win.

If you think the Black & Gold have had an up-and-down year, Atlanta’s has been worse. United sits four points back of Crew SC and outside of the playoff picture at the moment. While The Five Stripes may have MLS’s best offense with 28 goals for, but the defense is only second-worst to Columbus’ in terms of goals allowed.

Atlanta has not won more than two goals this season and enters this contest on the back of two consecutive losses.

The Black & Gold haven’t been much more consistent. Despite winning three straight games early in the year, Crew SC has struggled of late with only one win in the last four MLS matches.

Columbus faced a challenge in front of 30,000 fans on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup game. That will be nothing like what the team sees in a sellout crowd of roughly 47,000 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

It should be an interesting match, so let’s see what our staff thinks as we head into the weekend.

Collin Johnson

As Crew SC try to recover from, another, difficult loss, they square off against the second-worst defense in the league by goals against. Who is Atlanta second to? Columbus, who has given up 26 goals. Atlanta also has the best scoring offense in the league, with 28 goals for, which could be a disaster for Crew SC. To add to the Black & Gold's misery, United runs a high press, much like those that Columbus has struggled against all season.

If there is any piece of good news it's that at least Atlanta won't bunker, so if Crew SC are able to break the high press, they may have a shot at scoring a few goals against a poor defense. Still, I think Atlanta is able to put one more goal past Crew SC, probably off a turnover.
Atlanta United 3 Columbus Crew SC 2

Josh Enke

The noisy newcomers, Atlanta United, host Major League Soccer's first club, Columbus Crew SC. Atlanta came out of the gates this season like berserkers, but then MLS parity came along and placed them in the playoff logjam. Other than the relative humbling the league handed ATL, there's still a distinguishing factor making the Black & Red a special side: fans.

Much like the Crew's experience this past Wednesday in Cincinnati, Atlanta, too, can fill the stands with numerous passionate supporters. While I don't think Atlanta is better than Columbus on any given day, I think the fans will lift this team to play at a higher level. Confidence instilled, United will perform like the better side.

I'm not sure too many people expect Crew SC to come away with three points, and as we've come to learn, if it's not three points, it's nothing at all. The timing for this matchup could not be any worse for the visitors. I see a three-game losing streak awaiting the Black & Gold.

Here's to hoping Ola Kamara's fresh legs can get us something. We missed him dearly on Wednesday.
Atlanta United 3 Columbus Crew SC 1

Kris Landis

Atlanta seem to be a team, form wise, that resembles Crew SC. They're getting some good results, but also dropping points they shouldn't. They feature one of, if not the best head coach in MLS, and have a lot of attacking talent. I think the big difference here, as we talked about on Matchday this week, is the home field advantage. I just don't see Crew SC being able to generate enough offense to outscore Atlanta IN Atlanta. With our most consistent defender (Nico Naess) possibly missing out through injury the task gets that much tougher. Sadly I see this being a loss.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Ralph Schudel

Columbus will be walking into yet another hostile environment when they make the trek to Bobby Dodd stadium on Saturday. Judging by their performance on Wednesday, I don't anticipate Saturday ending in Crew SC's favor. Josef Martinez is back and when he is paired with Miguel Almiron the two players can be lethal.

Columbus will see an old friend in Michael Parkhurst and judging by Berhalter's understanding of the 33-year-old central defender, expect to see the forwards go at him hard with some pace and try to make him uncomfortable. Ola Kamara, Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay will look to defeat their old teammate and escape with a win. Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Josh Mlot

MLS is built to defy expectations, but I feel confident that this will be a high-scoring game. I can't see Tata Martino doing anything but sticking with his aggressive attack at home, and that leaves ATLU vulnerable for teams to hit back. I know some people are hailing the coming of the Black & Gold apocalypse, but I don't think things are as dire as some people make them out to be. If this game was not on the road, I'd pick Crew SC to bounce back for three points. As is, I'm expecting an entertaining back-and-forth affair. And the ever elusive road draw for CCSC.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Atlanta United 2

Patrick Murphy

As a good friend of mine tells me every week, Atlanta United is overrated. The expansion side are on television a lot and draw some truly remarkable crowds, but are more inconsistent with results than Crew SC and barely have a winning record at home in front of 47,000 fans.

With that said, I think this game could be very interesting. Both teams love to attack, home or away. Columbus does it through possession and build up, United on the counter attack with pace. This should make for some goals, which is fun for the neutrals.

As for the results, I don’t believe things are as bad as some Crew SC fans believe. The Black & Gold have not started a season this well statistically in years and tend to be better in the second half of a season. This game marks the end of the first half of the year and I think this could start turning things around.

Columbus only has one tie on the season, which has changed a lot of perception. Grinding out results on the road is important and I believe the team does that this week.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Atlanta United 2

Is there any faith left in you when it comes to Crew SC? Let us know what you think of this game in the comment section below.