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Massive Predictions: Minnesota United at Crew SC

Can the Black & Gold get the final result they need to secure a playoff spot?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Minnesota United FC Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It all comes down to this. Columbus Crew SC has had chance after chance to lock up a spot in the 2018 MLS Cup playoffs. In three consecutive matches, the team has failed to get the result necessary to mathematically clinch a place in the postseason. Sunday afternoon marks the final chance on MLS’s Decision Day.

Coming to MAPFRE Stadium is Minnesota United, a team whose playoff hopes went out the window a few weeks back. The Loons are in ninth place in the Western Conference, sitting on 36 points heading into the final week of MLS play. MNUFC has limped to the finish with three consecutive losses. Can Crew SC make it four in a row?

The Black & Gold need a win to guarantee another playoff appearance. Otherwise, the team will need help. The Columbus players and staff say they want to handle things on their own. Will that finally be the case? Our staff give their predictions for the match.

Guilherme Torres

It’s pretty much win or go (or stay) home for the Crew this weekend and even though this team has wasted consecutive opportunities of clinching what seemed to be a sure playoff spot in recent weeks, I believe it will get the job done when it matters. It will also be the first home game after the team was saved and the atmosphere should give Gregg Berhalter and his players a positive push.

Minnesota is playing for nothing and even though teams with nothing to lose could sometimes be the most dangerous, I don’t think they will get into Crew’s way. Jonathan Mensah’s absence is a noticeable one as the Ghanaian has easily been the team’s best defender in 2018, but if there’s one place the Black & Gold have depth, it is at the center back spot. The offense will need to do better than it did recently though. I think it will.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Minnesota United 0

Eliot McKinley

The Crew need to win to cement their place in the playoffs, a draw leaves the door open for the Montreal Impact to sneak in in Columbus’ place. The Crew will have to watch out for Darwin Quintero, who has been one of MLS’s top attackers since arriving in the spring, but the defense should be up to the task, even without Jonathan Mensah. On Save The Crewsmas, I expect a victory.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Minnesota United 1

Patrick Murphy

This team is going the wrong way at the wrong time. Three matches without a win for Crew SC is not what you want heading into the playoffs, or hopefully heading into the playoffs. The Black & Gold need a victory in this one, not only to secure a postseason spot but to show some form of life to conclude the regular season. While I don’t like how Columbus is playing, I think Minnesota is the recipe to turn things around.

Given the atmosphere expected at MAPFRE Stadium after the announcement that the team is all but staying in Columbus, I expect the home crowd to push Crew SC to a solid victory heading into the postseason.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Minnesota United 1

Ralph Schudel

Following last week’s debacle in Orlando, I don’t feel comfortable about this match. Sure, Minnesota United has conceded 68 goals this season, but are outscoring Crew SC this year. Given the lack of production from the Black & Gold, Sunday might get a little nervy at MAPFRE Stadium

For Columbus to be successful, they must remain patient inside the final third as the Loons are very aggressive when tackling and create space for attacking players. This aggressiveness often leaves the Minnesota goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation in which it seldom goes the way of the Loons’ keeper.

Crew SC claim the win, but it isn’t pretty.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Minnesota United 0

Sam Fahmi

This is tough. I don’t know how this team reacts anymore, if anything. Bad weather, bad opponent, a possibly full stadium due to the Save The Crew news. How does this team react?

For one reason or another, they did not fair well in Orlando. Maybe City wanted to exact revenge on Crew SC for the last second missile game winner by Will Trapp. Regardless, the Crew needs a win. Period. whether it’s by one goal or by five goals (ahhh, 2015 memories) three points are what they need. Having said that, I would be sad, but not totally upset, if the season ended tomorrow. This team has endured a pressure-filled season of uncertainty. Alas, this is not the end.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Minnesota United 1

Patrick Guldan

Patrick Guldan

This is it. Columbus must arrest their slide or risk leaving their playoff future to Montreal as they take on a struggling New England Revolution side. They have the perfect team to do that against in Minnesota United, a truly poor road team in MLS this year (though they struggled to create against the worst defense in MLS history last week).

The Columbus offense hasn’t scored more than a single goal in over a month and have been shutout twice in their last three games. Federico Higuain looks frustrated while the team still doesn’t have consistent production out of the wingers as Pedro Santos and Justin Meram aren’t getting and finishing good chances.

Crew SC is also missing a key defensive piece in Jonathan Mensah, who is suspended. The visiting Loons have some dangerous offensive weapons, starting with early season transfer Darwin Quintero. Quintero has 11 goals and 14 assists in 26 games. Miguel Ibarra has added eight goals and three assists. This is a team that can turn a bad giveaway into a goal.

This leaves the Black & Gold in a dangerous spot. With the defense weakened and the offense misfiring a disastrous result is a bad break away and hoping for a New England result.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Minnesota United 1

There you have it from us. What do you think will be the outcome on Sunday afternoon?