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Massive Predictions: Houston Dynamo at Crew SC

How will the Black & Gold do against a depleted Dynamo side?

MLS: Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

If it feels like it’s been a while since you last got your fix of the Massive Report predictions, that’s because it has. Columbus Crew SC hasn’t taken the field in nearly two weeks after an off weekend following the All-Star Game. The Black & Gold return to action on Saturday when the Houston Dynamo come to MAPFRE Stadium.

While Columbus should be well rested for this match, the Dynamo are in a very different situation. Houston played last Saturday — a 1-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City — before a midweek U.S. Open Cup game with Los Angeles Football Club. After drawing 3-3 through regular and extra time, Houston defeated LAFC 7-6 in penalty kicks.

During the week off, Columbus made another addition to its offense, bringing back former winger Justin Meram who left after last season for Orlando City SC. Meram wasn’t playing for the Lions, so he will likely need time to get back to game fitness, but don’t be surprise if J9 — yes, he’s officially J9 again — makes his return off the bench in this contest.

Houston meanwhile will be without four key pieces when the team travels to Central Ohio. In the loss to Kansas City, the Dynamo saw three players — defender Alejandro Fuenmayor, midfielder Darwin Ceren and forward Alberth Elis — all issued red cards. In addition, Houston head coach Wilmer Cabrera was also dismissed from the match. That means the Dynamo quartet will all miss the game against Crew SC.

Can the Black & Gold take advantage of a depleted Houston team that currently sits in 10th place in the Western Conference? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Sam Fahmi

The Houston Dynamo is coming off a tough week in league play where the team lost to Kansas City, and worse yet, were on the receiving end of THREE red cards that game. Columbus Crew SC is coming into this game rested from having a bye week. Can Crew SC figure out how to plug the holes in its defense and find its early season defensive form? If they can, the offense has shown that it has the ability to put the ball in the net. Any result other than a win for Columbus in this contest would be unacceptable. I can see Justin Meram scoring in his return to the home side at MAPFRE Stadium.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 1

Collin Johnson

Houston isn’t great. They’ve scored nine more goals than Crew SC this season, but they’re nine points behind Columbus with 27 points so far. Add the multiple red cards from last week’s MLS match and a penalty shootout against LAFC during the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday followed by an away match, and that spells disaster for the Dynamo.

Meanwhile, the Black & Gold have Justin Meram back with the team and are coming off a 14-day break. It will be shocking and incredibly disappointing if Crew SC come away with anything less than the full three points from this match.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 1

Patrick Murphy

On paper, this is very much a game Crew SC should win. The Dynamo enter this match having played twice in the last eight days, including going to overtime and penalty kicks in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup win. The team will be without three starters from last week and its head coach. Oh, and Houston is one of the bottom teams in the Western Conference. But these games aren’t played on paper.

The Black & Gold need to have the focus the team did in the first half against the New York Red Bulls in this match. With 11 games left in the season, this begins an important stretch for Columbus. The final third of the year is usually when Crew SC makes its run to get into proper form for the postseason. Getting three points over a disappointing and depleted Dynamo side is imperative to start the final push off to end the regular season.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 1

Eliot McKinley

Houston has had an interesting week. Last Saturday they lost to Sporting Kansas City at home 1-0. While losing at home is always demoralizing, doing so while being shown four red cards is even more so. An early red to Alejandro Fuenmayor was followed by head coach Wilmer Cabrera being sent of at half time, and then both Darwin Ceren and Alberth Elis were sent off in second half stoppage time. On Wednesday, Houston advanced past LAFC after penalty kicks to the U.S. Open Cup final. Needless to say, Houston will not be at full strength coming to MAPFRE Stadium.

With Houston missing Elis, who is third in the league in xG+xA, Crew SC will have a much better time than if he was playing. I fully expect Crew SC to grab all three points to extend the winning streak to three. While Justin Meram is not expected to start, I think he’ll grab a goal off the bench to reignite his Crew SC career and reclaim his rightful name from Josh Williams.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 0

Guilherme Torres

This game is a good opportunity for Crew SC to build momentum and record its third straight victory for a number of reasons. First of all, the Black & Gold are well rested, having had last weekend off, while the Dynamo played a 120-minute midweek match in the U.S. Open Cup. Also, the Texans, who have just one road win in 10 games so far, have lost all of their last three MLS matches.

Columbus has been strong at home and I expect the team to confirm that against the Dynamo. Offense worked well in the last two games and I could see another three-goal performance from Gyasi Zardes, Federico Higuain and company. Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis have combined for 20 goals, more than half of the 39 the Dynamo have managed to score so far. Elis is suspended for this match, so if the Crew can find a way to at least slow down Manotas, it should be a comfortable win at MAPFRE Stadium, hopefully with Justin Meram back in good form.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 1

Patrick Guldan

This is another game that Crew SC should win. They have offensive reinforcements in Patrick Mullins and the recently re-acquired Justin Meram, though he may not be fit enough to play yet.

On the other side, Houston will be dealing with multiple suspensions and just played an extra time Open Cup game midweek. Columbus has let points slip at home this season and as a result, they sit in fourth place. A win against Houston will keep Columbus within reach of the top three and prevent them from slipping back towards the fifth and sixth spots.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Houston Dynamo 1

Do you agree with our staff that Crew SC will come out of this match with a full three points? Let us know your score prediction in the comment section below.