Columbus Crew SC just played on Sunday, but it will be a quick turnaround for the Black & Gold. Crew SC fell 3-1 at Atlanta United over the weekend and, thanks to some rescheduling, will be on the road again on Thursday in a trip to Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Fire.
On paper, this looks like a game that should be a win for Columbus. Crew SC sits in fourth place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference with 39 points. The Fire, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the East with just 23 points. It’s been since June 30 since Chicago won a match in MLS play, so this should be a full three points, right?
Let’s see what our staff thinks about this rivalry week game.
It seems easy enough to me. Crew SC needs to win this game to prove that it belongs with the upper echelon on the Eastern Conference. If a team isn’t going to beat the top teams in the league, which Columbus hasn’t much this year, it needs to beat up on the sides below it. Chicago certainly qualifies as that.
What gives me pause is that the Black & Gold have not won in Chicago since 2015. And there have been plenty of bad Fire teams. With that said, this is usually when Gregg Berhalter teams start to turn it on before the playoffs and I think they will do that, despite the quick turnaround between games.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 1
Playing in Bridgeview has never been easy for Columbus Crew SC but few times the team could enter a road match against the Fire as confident in a victory as now. The Black & Gold are going through a positive moment in the season despite last weekend’s setback to Atlanta United and will face a struggling opponent to say the least.
The Fire have lost their last eight MLS games, including three at home, and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. This is one of those games in which a playoff team, as the Crew has indicated to be so far, needs to go on the road and get the job done against an inferior rival. Chicago is the team with most home defeats with seven and I’m thinking it will add one more.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 1
The Fire have been on a cold streak, losing their last eight MLS matches. The team both struggles to score goals and to keep the opponent out of its own end. After Veljko Paunović’s comments following the team’s most recent defeat, 2-1 to the Montreal Impact, some players have been performing and others have been failing repeatedly. He made mention of these changes, but what they will be is a tough call.
However the lineup looks on match day, it’s a dire win for Chicago. Crew SC has looked to be improving despite avoiding clinicism in front of net. This is the match to turn that around and get the goal boots back in full form.
Columbus Crew SC 4 Chicago Fire 2
Chicago is bad. There isn’t any way to sugarcoat it. Crew SC has no excuse to come back to Columbus with anything less than a point and should absolutely expect to earn the full three points. Despite last weeks deceptively close 3-1 loss to Atlanta, the Black & Gold are playing some their best soccer of this season. A win, or even a draw, on the road in Bridgeview will go a long way to solidifying Crew SC’s playoff positioning in an increasingly tight Eastern Conference.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Chicago Fire 0
Bridgeview is a trap. Columbus Crew SC has struggled getting results there no matter how good the Chicago Fire is. Columbus is 6-16-10 all time in Illinois. Even earlier this year, they were the better team in April but still lost 1-0. The Fire are very poor right now, having lost eight games in a row, the latest giving up the winning goal in stoppage time. They are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 6-15-5. This is a bad team.
Columbus isn’t a bad team. There is talent throughout the lineup that works together as a team. Crew SC can beat anyone in MLS on any given day. They are the opposiste of the Fire. The Black & Gold should win convincingly on Thursday, but they won’t. Even if they control the game, Chicago will hang around enough to steal points. There’s little logic to it other than Bridgeview is a trap.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Chicago Fire 1
What is your prediction for Thursday’s game at the Fire? Let us know in the comment section below.