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Massive Predictions: Crew SC at New York City FC

Can the Black & Gold reverse recent negative results in the Big Apple?

MLS: New York Red Bulls at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC started the 2018 season very brightly and looked like a serious contender for both Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and the league’s Supporters’ Shield. But as the games got harder, the results have not gone nearly as well for the Black & Gold.

Since the middle of May, Columbus has just two wins in eight matches. The team’s offense, which was a question mark early in the year after losing Ola Kamara and Justin Meram in the offseason, also started well but now Crew SC has been shutout in three of its last four matches and goals are becoming hard to find. The Black & Gold addressed that this weekend, trading for D.C. United forward Patrick Mullins, who could make his debut on Saturday.

Following last weekend’s 4-0 loss at the LA Galaxy, where the score was a little more flattering to the home side than the play on the field, Columbus is in need of some better luck, but that will be hard to come by against New York City FC.

The Citizens are on the team’s second head coach of the year after Patrick Vieira left to take the job at Nice in France. He was replaced by Domènec Torrent on June 11 and the team has hardly missed a beat. NYCFC currently sit in second place in the East with 37 points and are unbeaten (9-0-1) at home. And that’s with David Villa missing six games.

Can Crew SC become the first team to go to Yankee Stadium and come out with a win? Let’s see if our staff has any confidence.

Eliot McKinley

ince the arrival of Domènec Torrent as head coach, New York City FC has been much less dogmatic about tactics than his predecessor Patrick Vieira. Against Red Bulls, NYCFC played a more direct style similar to how Columbus Crew SC has played against high pressing teams. Against Montreal on Wednesday, NYCFC played a three striker set up in the first half before switching to a formation featuring two false nines in the second, with Torrent commenting that his squad’s second half performance was “close to the way that I like to play.” In short, NYCFC is a different team now than Crew SC has faced before.

Columbus Crew SC is in a bit of a rut, winning only once in the last 7 games. The offense is creating fewer quality chances, while the defense is allowing their opponents more. Quantitatively, since May 27, Crew SC’s expected goal differential per game (xGD/g) is 0.03, while prior to May 27 it was 0.8. Crew SC’s points per game dropped form 1.85 to 0.86 over those time periods. Gregg Berhalter’s teams usually come alive towards the end of the season, and this slump will most likely end sometime soon, but probably not this weekend. With the tight confines of Yankee Stadium hampering Crew SC’s style and Torrent having NYCFC playing very well since his arrival, I predict Crew SC leaves the Big Apple empty handed.
New York City FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Collin Johnson

One win in the last seven league matches spells one of the more bleak stretches for Crew SC in the 2018 MLS season. Meanwhile, NYCFC has lost their excellent manager and not lost a step. For Columbus, the lack of offensive production and some untimely injuries and suspensions on defense have coalesced at an unfortunate time. Good health and reinforcements cannot come soon enough.

NYCFC is at the end of a three-matches-in-seven-days situation, and I would normally side with the team with more rest. However, playing at Yankee Stadium is never fun and the Black & Gold haven’t shown that they can score or defend in recent weeks. A draw would be an excellent road result against one of the East’s best teams, but even that will be a big ask against MLS’s best striker, David Villa. That said, I can’t bring myself to predict a loss.
Columbus Crew SC 1 New York City FC 1

Patrick Murphy

Crew SC has learned in recent weeks what the top of the Eastern Conference is like and that this team, at least at this moment, is on the outside looking in. The Black & Gold tied the New York Red Bulls and were defeated 2-0 by Atlanta United, both of those matches at home. This week, Columbus goes on the road to face a New York City side that is yet to lose at Yankee Stadium this year and has only tasted defeat once in its last six matches.

If there is a good time to face NYCFC, it could be this weekend. The Citizens played Sunday and again on Wednesday — both wins — so there could be some shuffling of the lineup on Saturday night. Of course, New York City could also have David Villa back after he missed the last three games with an injury.

Given how Crew SC has performed of late and how well NYCFC have done this year, I just don’t see this one going well for the visitors.
New York City FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Sam Fahmi

Columbus Crew SC heads to the Big Apple hoping to bounce back from a miserable West Coast trip in which they gave up four goals in a loss to the LA Galaxy. New York City FC has a new coach who will experience Crew SC for the first time. However, Yankee Stadium is generally not a good fit for Columbus’ playing style. To me, this can be fairly even game given all the variables, but this Crew SC team needs to pull its act together. Columbus has played more games than anyone and are in fourth place in the East. An occasional loss will not kill them, but they need to take care of their business so they don’t have to depend on other clubs’ results. An ideal result would be a win of course, but I’ll settle on a tie on that narrow field.
Columbus Crew SC 2 New York City FC 2

Guilherme Torres

I had the sense that the Yankee Stadium was a tough spot for Crew SC but stats say otherwise, as the Black & Gold have had a win, a tie and a loss in three matches in the Bronx. That could be an encouraging sign, but the fact that NYCFC have won nine and tied one of its 10 home matches so far in 2018 completely blows any good feelings about this game out of the water.

The team responded well to a recent head coach change as New York has won three of its four matches since Domènec Torrent took over. Add that to the fact that Columbus has not played well lately and is coming off a 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy and the odds are clearly not on Crew SC’s side for this one. The home team could have some significant absences, such as David Villa and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, but even with those, I don’t like Columbus’ chances this weekend.
New York City FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Patrick Guldan

New York City FC are an exceptional 9-0-1 at home this season. They have lost five times in the last two and half seasons at Yankee Stadium. This is a team that is stocked with talent that is geared to playing at the small confines of their (supposed) temporary home. Even without David Villa, they still figure out how to score and keep things tidy on defense.

Columbus is in a poor run of form and have especially struggled on the road. The punchless offense will get Federico Higuain back and Patrick Mullins may be able to add something different in his reserve role, but won’t be enough against a well oiled NYCFC machine.

New York City FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

You’ve now seen our predictions. How do you think Crew SC will do against NYCFC this weekend?