A quick turnaround means more predictions from us. But don’t worry. After this, Columbus Crew SC doesn’t play again until the U.S. Open Cup game on June 14, so you won’t have to hear from us for a while.
Welcome to Commerce City, CO, the home of the bottom of Major League Soccer. That’s right, the Colorado Rapids are in last place in the league with 10 points from 12 games so far in 2017. All three of the Rapids’ wins have come at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Black & Gold travel to this weekend.
Colorado comes into this match following a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. In that contest, they were outshot 24-6 and gave up 73 percent of the possession.
After the team’s worst embarrassment in years, Crew SC rebounded in the midweek with a 3-0 win over a depleted Seattle Sounders side at home. Gregg Berhalter’s side would like to capitalize on a weak Rapids team that’s struggling to find results and good performances.
Can they do it or will former Columbus midfielder Mohammed Saeid help steal three points for his new team? Let’s see what our staff thinks.
After one of their most complete performance against the, depleted, defending MLS Cup champions, Crew SC will try to win at Colorado on a quick turnaround. The Rapids have one of the more stingy defenses in the league (having given up 17 goals so far) but their offense is more stingy with only 10 goals scored in 12 games.
If Columbus can hold Colorado to one goal, they should have a great opportunity to come away from Denver with at least one point. With the Rapids missing Tim Howard and both center backs, the Black & Gold should be able to score at least one goal if not more.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Colorado Rapids 1
I can't get a beat on Crew SC this year. I think I've only gotten one prediction correct this season. Ironically, April 1st against Orlando (look it up.) I can speak with great certainty that I believe Columbus will easily dispatch of the struggling Rapids, who will be without four players this weekend.
Tim Howard is with the national team, Axel Sjoberg and Jared Watts are doubtful with injuries and Bobby Burling is suspended for this fixture. Colorado are struggling mightily with the presence of those players and I don't think it will get much better for them with those key absences.
If Columbus produce a similar performance like they had against Seattle, I don't see any issues. If Berhalter decides to try to experiment against the Rapids, things could get hairy.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Colorado Rapids 0
The highest team in MLS is the lowest on the Supporters Shield table. Colorado is not a great team. There's Tim Howard, but he's with the national team. Shkelzen Gashi? Does that sound right? This team is, more or less, going to be made of defensive placeholders for Saturday's match. That's the good news for the guys from Ohio.
The distant ascent to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, however, will likely take its toll on Crew SC, as it will on any team (besides maybe Real Salt Lake). Elevation really is a factor. Who does Gregg Berhalter bring with him to the mountain region following a quick turnaround from Wednesday evening? Who has the energy and lungs to take on the thin air? Everybody should. This team prides itself on thorough conditioning.
By glancing at the league table, it should be a win for Columbus, and because they don't play again until June 14th in the inaugural Ohio Derby (yes, it already deserves that title), I expect Berhalter to bring most, if not the full cast of star performers. This potent and currently confident Black & Gold attack should be able to create, but fatigue could become a factor in the second half. Against the odds of MLS road matches, I say the guys travel well and keep the rebirth of form alive.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Colorado Rapids 1
Sometimes it's good to be wrong. I was the only one of us here at Massive Report to predict a Crew loss on Wednesday. I thought the team would be too downcast after the butt-kicking in Toronto, and I greatly over-estimated Seattle. I'm happy I was proven wrong.
Saturday's game is another hard one to pick for a number of reasons. The short turnaround always makes things difficult, and it compounds the usual difficulties of traveling out west and playing at altitude. Those factors all make me lean towards another disappointing Crew SC night. However, Colorado are missing some key pieces, and are currently bottom of the West. It'll be one of those games both teams feel they should have won
Columbus Crew SC 1 Colorado Rapids 1
After a surprising Western Conference Finals appearance in 2016, the Colorado Rapids are back to the bottom of MLS this season. The team is facing a rebuilding process and is not getting the results it expected. Crew SC had a good 3-0 win on Wednesday against a depleted Seattle Sounders and have a good momentum.
The Rapids, though, are strong at home, where where they collected all the 10 points they have in the season so far (3-2-1). Colorado's main force is the defense, but the team is very shorthanded this weeks because of injuries, suspensions an call ups and fullback Eric Miller will be the only remaining player from their 2016 backline on the field. If Crew SC can control the pace, I see no reason believe in another road win for the Black & Gold.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Colorado Rapids 0
Columbus Crew SC are coming off a very good game against an underperforming and thin team. They face another on Saturday night in the Rapids. That might suggest a win, but there are two additional challenges facing the Black & Gold. They will be playing their third game in nine days and had to travel halfway across the country to do it. The Rapids know how to grind out a game, even with missing players and can stymie just about any offense at home. Colorado may threaten the Crew SC backline even less than the Sounders. That’s the recipe for a Pablo - a scoreless draw of anti-soccer.
Columbus Crew SC 0 Colorado Rapids 0
When the Rapids win at home, which is where all three of the team’s victories have come, the side does it in shutout fashion. That means to predict a win for the home side, I would have to believe one of MLS’s best offenses is going to be held scoreless.
While I do believe in this Colorado defense, tied for fourth-best in the league, Pablo Mastroeni is going to be without three of his more reliable defensive pieces. Gregg Berhalter said he doesn’t think the altitude will be too much of an issue and the team has some time off after this. I expect some more shuffling of the lineup in this one because that’s what this team does these days.
I’m hesitant to predict road wins in MLS, but I’m doing it this week. The Black & Gold find a way to break the Rapids’ bunker and get a first half goal that pulls them out.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Colorado Rapids 0
Crew SC has only won two away matches this season, but I don't think that statistic should be too telling Saturday. Colorado has not beaten Columbus since 2013 and currently sits bottom of the league table. This Rapids team has had it's host of issues, notably on the attacking end. While they have been solid at home, with wins against Sporting Kansas City last week and a 3-0 win against San Jose Earthquakes the previous home match, Colorado will be missing quite a few defensive players. Meanwhile, Gregg Berhalter's side is coming off of a 3-0 win against the Sounders. Despite being on the road, I think that Berhalter's team is simply too strong for the Rapids to hold out against with their depleted defense. I'm expecting Columbus to play very similar to how they did against the Sounders and pull this one out.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Colorado Rapids 0
A fairly positive week if the Massive Report predictions are correct. Are you back on the bandwagon? Let us know your prediction in the comment section below.