Columbus Crew SC returns to the MAPFRE Stadium pitch on Saturday evening, this week welcoming in the San Jose Earthquakes.
It’s been an unfortunate last few weeks for the Black & Gold, who now have gone four matches without a win (0-3-1) after beginning the Major League Soccer season unbeaten in four (3-0-1).
If there’s a week to begin to turn things around, it seems like this one would be it. The Earthquakes have just one win so far this season are tied for the third-worst record in MLS.
Of course Crew SC already has losses to two winless teams this year, so who knows how this one will play out. Hopefully we do.
Here are the Massive Report staff predictions:
I could probably go back to early seasons of past predictions under Gregg Berhalter and reuse one from one of those games. This team, because of its style of play, just takes a while to find its footing in a season. I’m not yet concerned about this group, but they are beginning to dig a hole that we didn’t think would happen after the start of the year.
This is one of those games I think you have to win. There’s no reason the Black & Gold didn’t beat the Chicago Fire, D.C. United or the New England Revolution, except that they got in their own way. If you can’t figure it out against a struggling San Jose side, then I’m going to start asking some questions.
This is an Earthquakes team that’s likely to allow Crew SC to play and create chances. The issue lately has been finishing them. I think this week is different and Columbus puts away opportunities.
Columbus Crew SC 4 San Jose Earthquakes 1
By almost all statistical measures, Columbus is a better team than San Jose. Expect Gyasi Zardes to have lots of chances facing a defense that allows 1.82 xG per game, third worst in the league. The winless streak ends for Columbus against their long time ”rivals” on Superhero Night.
Columbus Crew SC 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0
Honestly, I haven’t watched one second of the San Jose Earthquakes this season. That said, it should be difficult for the ‘Quakes, currently sitting at second to last in the relatively weak Western Conference, to grab their first road win of the season against Crew SC. After a few weeks of getting shut out, the Black & Gold returned to their goal-scoring ways against New England and hopefully can continue this trend on Saturday.
Fresh off his one-year extension, I’m expecting a big game from Federico Higuain. I expect nothing less than a goal and an assist from Pipa (to Gyasi Zardes), and will be disappointed with anything less. Jokes aside, this team absolutely should, and must, win against San Jose.
Columbus Crew SC 3 San Jose Earthquakes 1
The Crew has failed to grab a victory in its last four matches, but the Earthquakes are in an even worse spot right now, as the team is winless in five games. This contest will certainly bring sense of urgency from both sides and, playing at home, Columbus should do whatever it takes to get all three points. The retrospect helps as well, as the Crew has not lost a home to San Jose since 2008.
The Quakes’ defense has been far from solid, conceding an average of two goals in the last five matches, so I can totally see the Black & Gold scoring in bunches on Saturday. However, the Californians also possess some interesting offensive pieces, such as the ageless Chris Wondolowski and Designated Players Vako and Magnus Eriksson. With all that considered, I believe Crew SC’s drought will come to an end in an entertaining match.
Columbus Crew SC 3 San Jose Earthquakes 2
If Crew SC has had a rather poor run of games lately, then San Jose has been far worse. Without a win since the first week of the MLS season, the Quakes have been struggling to keep it clean, with zero shutouts on the season and five matches with at least two goals conceded.
It’s time for Zardes and company to get their confidence back up as I’m predicting four goals for Columbus.
Columbus Crew SC 4 San Jose Earthquake 2
This could be the game that Crew SC have waited for. San Jose hasn’t enjoyed a pleasant 2018 campaign thus far. Defensively, the Quakes look like they should be proficient, but have the tendency to make several mental mistakes. This could be perfect for players like Niko Hansen and Gyasi Zardes to break through.
One wildcard for San Jose is its goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. The 24-year-old possesses quick reflexes and soft hands, it will require something special to beat him. However, expect Tarbell’s defense to fail him.
Columbus Crew SC 4 San Jose Earthquakes 1
San Jose is a team that Crew SC needs to take advantage. The Earthquakes are a promising team that is struggling. They have a new coach in Mikael Stahre and they’ve brought in some interesting players. Magnus Eriksson, the new Designated Player, has had a goal or an assist in the last five games and leads the team in both categories. There’s a plan, but it’s not coming together quite yet. You don’t let points slip at home against this type of team.
Luckily, Crew SC showed some signs of shaking off the bad run that has lasted throughout April. The offense finally started finishing those many chances that hadn’t gone in over the scoreless streak. The defense did struggle holding a lead, but remains one of the best statistically in MLS. They aren’t giving up that many chances. The “luck” equalizes and Columbus finally gets back to winning.
Columbus Crew SC 3 - San Jose 1
Those are our predictions for Crew SC and the Earthquakes. What say you?