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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC

Can the Black & Gold continues Orlando’s fall and boost its own playoff chances?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC is in a precarious place. The Black & Gold sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, inside the mark for the MLS playoffs.

The issue is, each of the teams within striking distance have at least one game in hand and are beginning to make up ground.

One of those is Orlando City SC, who have one win in the team’s last 10 matches. These two teams meet on Saturday night in Orlando.

A loss in this game, given OCSC’s remaining schedule, would all but end any postseason hopes for Jason Kreis’ men.

The good news for City is the team is at home, where the club is 6-3-3 on the season. Columbus has not been great on the road, with a 3-9-1 mark. Something has to give in this match... or does it?

Can Crew SC take advantage of a slumping Orlando City side and get some much-needed points on the road or will OCSC find a way to get a positive result at home?

Let’s see what the Massive Report staff thinks.

Collin Johnson

Crew SC face Orlando in what is a must win for the Lions and a near must-draw for a Columbus team with a red-hot Montreal Impact breathing down its necks. The Black & Gold will likely have to deal with a masked Dom Dwyer and Cyle Larin, but will be fortunate to miss the skill and creativity of Kaka. Winning on the road in MLS is never an easy task, but Orlando have not won at home since June 1.

With a finally healthy Federico Higuain and the addition of Pedro Santos for his first minutes in black and gold, Crew SC have a perfect opportunity to knock a potential playoff team out of the hunt while also padding its own resume.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 1

Ralph Schudel

This week can prove pivotal for Columbus Crew SC and its playoff hopes. Orlando City has struggled mightily as of late and has won only one of its last 10 matches and have been outscored 18-9 in that stretch.

OCSC’s defense is going to be a makeshift backline without Jonathan Spector due to an LCL injury and City have been horrendous on the counter-attack. Given Crew SC's run of form and performance on the counter, I'm expecting good things in Columbus' first trip to the new Orlando City digs.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 1

Josh Enke

I want to write another positive prediction for Crew SC, but can't. Orlando City's season has soured, and Kaka is out for this match. While the Lions have not managed a victory since June 30, there's still reason to expect a strong showing from the home side given battling for the playoffs is still in full swing. OCSC is in must-win terrain. If the team wants postseason exposure, a positive result against a similarly teetering Eastern Conference side is crucial.

Crew SC, meanwhile, found some success again in the new formation (3-4-2-1) against the Chicago Fire last week, however, Columbus is also keeping true to the form of inconsistency that has irked many supporters. The last five games have been rather rollercoaster-like (W-L-D-L-W). Per usual, this grants anyone little confidence when predicting a Crew SC outcome.

After the high of extinguishing the great Chicago Fire of 1871, its time for a humbling, even if it's dished out by a less than stellar (albeit home) Orlando City SC side.
Orlando City SC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Guilherme Torres

Crew SC has not been prolific when playing as a visitor, winning only three of 13 matches so far, but it won't probably have a better chance to get a road win than this one. Orlando City SC is going through a very bad moment in the season, being winless for five games and amassing only two victories since April 29.

Orlando has to win this game to keep their playoff dreams alive — if the team doesn't get three points, the chance of making the playoffs decrease to six percent according to — and that could help the Black & Gold. The Lions will have to play offensive-minded soccer and will be without Jonathan Spector, arguably the team’s best center back, which means Crew SC is likely to have lots of space to operate when counter attacking, a part of the game where the team seems to be way more proficient in the new 3-4-2-1 formation.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Orlando City SC 0

Patrick Guldan

This is a big game for Crew SC, but it's vital and a must win for Orlando. Even though Orlando is in a free fall since the beginning of the year, the team is at home and needing a result, this game should be played with a playoff intensity by the home side. Even, perhaps especially, without Kaka, Orlando still has plenty of offense. Columbus will have to channel the counter attack that was successful in Salt Lake. Crew SC will also be lifted by the possible return of Federico Higuain and the likely debut of Pedro Santos.

The likely result is an open game ending in a tie that doesn't help either team.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City 2

Josh Mlot

We are nearing the end of the season, and I still don't have a good enough grasp on what we are going to get out of this Crew SC team to ever feel confident in my predictions.

This week, the opponent is an Orlando team that hasn't been in great form for months. The Purple Lions will be without Kaka, who has had bright moments but overall hasn't influenced the game as much as the past, and Jonathan Spector, who has been a big part of the club's defensive improvement.

Orlando won't have a true creator on the field and will be workmanlike, but new signing Yoshi Yotun may be a part of the picture, and we just don't know yet what his influence will be.

This Columbus side still hasn't convinced me it can win on the road though. This result will have huge ramifications on Crew SC's playoff hopes, and unfortunately that may be a bad thing.
Orlando City SC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

An away match against a hungry conference foe is never easy. Orlando is nipping at the heels of Columbus as the team tries to grab the fifth or sixth spot in the East. But despite the desire from the Lion club, the side has not won in the past five matches. Granted, all of the matches were against strong Eastern Conference opponents.

As previously mentioned, Kaka will not be available and Dom Dwyer is questionable. Surely this hampers the team that is so dependent on creativity. Cyle Larin and Will Johnson will have to pull the strings, but will it be enough to edge this Crew SC team that has had a slight jump in form lately? I don't think so.
Orlando City SC 1 Columbus Crew SC 1

Patrick Murphy

I have so many questions in regards to this match. First, can Crew SC finally put together a strong road performance? Second, what happens with a healthy Federico Higuain and visa-full Pedro Santos? The 3-4-2-1 doesn’t seem to work with those two available, unless Justin Meram is going to be left out, and that doesn’t seem likely.

Until those questions are answered, it’s going to be tough to predict Columbus’ results. Three points in this game for Crew SC would be huge, but even a point on the road for the Black & Gold is big at this point.

Orlando is still trying to figure out how to make this attack work with Cyle Larin and Dom Dwyer, who is expected back as the masked man on Saturday night. No Kaka could be good or bad, depending on the perspective.

At worst, I see this one being entertaining with plenty of goals.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Orlando City SC 2

Thoughts? Predictions of your own? Let us know in the comment section below.