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Massive Predictions: D.C. United at Crew

Can the Black & Gold return to winning ways against their oldest rival?

MLS: Knockout Round-Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It hasn’t been the best last two weeks for Columbus Crew SC when it comes to results. The Black & Gold went to the Montreal Impact two weeks ago and fell 1-0 for the team’s second loss of the season, then came back to Columbus and dropped a 3-1 result to the previously winless Portland Timbers at home. While the Crew players and staff are pleased with the performances of the last two games, the results just haven’t been there.

The Black & Gold hope to change that when longtime Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United come to MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday night. United is coming off its own home defeat, losing 2-0 to New York City FC. Both sides are looking to right the ship, but who will get it done? Let’s see what our staff thinks for this contest.

Nick Hudak

Is it starting to become that time of year? The Black & Gold are in their first period forced to deal with a stretch of adversity. While it came a little sooner than I had expected, the past two games for the Crew have been all but pretty.

In comes D.C. United and Wayne Rooney. Aside from the fact that they’re in first place in the Eastern Conference and among the league’s best, Columbus has another date with them in two weeks. A shell of what they looked like the first handful of weeks of the season, the Crew has struggled immensely to find the back of the net.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to see the team find its offensive groove against D.C. While I think Columbus will continue to show promise in creating opportunities, the Crew’s backline bouncing back and holding Rooney and company to a point seems the more likely outcome.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Collin Johnson

I‘ve stopped wondering when the Crew’s offensive struggles will end. For me, it’s a question of when or if Columbus will add the necessary offensive reinforcements to supplement the team’s typically excellent defense and actually contend for a title. In a top-heavy conference with only five total teams missing the playoffs, the Black & Gold have the luxury of time on their side but really have to avoid piling up losses in a season that started with a ton of promise. D.C. United have been equally hit or miss but will bring a ton of offensive talent to Columbus. Three points is always the goal at home but doing so in a crowded fixture week after two consecutive losses won’t be easy.
D.C. United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Mike Crosky

D.C. United and Wayne Rooney are strolling into Columbus this week, fresh off a 2-0 loss to NYCFC. Likewise, Columbus is looking to bounce back after falling to the Portland Timbers 3-1. As if attempting to predict MLS games wasn’t difficult enough during a normal week, this will be the second of three games for both teams in an eight-day span, so we will likely have modified lineups and schematics.

Both teams have stout defenses and sound goalkeeping play. Columbus has only conceded eight goals this season, while D.C. a scant nine. If either team can breakthrough the rigid opposing defense, all three points in the standings will be the award. However, I am anticipating a low-scoring affair.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Patrick Murphy

There’s a lot of frustration among Crew Nation right now. Yes, the team has lost two games in a row. No, they are not playing poorly. As Caleb Porter pointed out this week, they’ve played some of the best offensive soccer of the season in the last two matches and given up five good opportunities. Unfortunately, those five opportunities have led to four opponent goals and the Black & Gold still can’t finish.

The finishing is the issue for me. While the team continues to create chances that should go into the net — and if you go back and look, those certainly are there — these opportunities go missing and that’s not something new. It was a problem all of last year as well. This may get fixed as the season goes on and that may spark a late-season Crew run but right now I’m not banking on the offense. Fortunately, I like this defense enough to think the team gets something out of this match.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Tyler Fisher

D.C. United gets Wayne Rooney back in a critical midweek matchup against Columbus. On the flip side, Columbus will set a new lineup after losing two consecutive matches. We are more than likely going to see a shift in the lineup from their previous loss to the Portland Timbers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Porter throws another striker in the lineup. But the thing I’m more worried about, is the defense. How can they be consistent in not allowing Rooney and company break the backline? A solid hold for 90 minutes will help keep D.C. off of the score sheet but it’s a team effort, to pull out a win against a new and improved D.C. United team.
Columbus 2 D.C. United 1

Jay Homan

History has me a little worried about this match. The last time the Crew lost two consecutive home matches was the 2015 MLS Cup Final and the home opener of the 2016 season. If you say that doesn’t count because they were different seasons, you only have to go back a couple more months to September of 2015 to see the last time it happened within the same season. What has me concerned is that the Portland Timbers had a hand in both of those streaks. Some food for thought going into the midweek matchup against D.C. United, a team that has been slowing down themselves after an energetic start to the season (10 points in four games and a +8 goal differential), D.C. has only been able to snag one win in the month of April.

I don’t expect Caleb Porter to let another game slip by. He will have the team focused and ready to defend against a dynamic trio of Luciao Acosta, Paul Arriola and Wayne Rooney. But finishing will continue to be a pain point and will prevent a midweek celebration.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Guilherme Torres

Two weeks ago, this match would reunite the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. While D.C. remains at the top, the Crew dropped to the fourth place after back-to-back losses and it looks forward to bouncing back at home against a team which has collected seven out of nine points as a visitor so far in 2019.

D.C. has a number of household names up front and a solid defense and should be a tough opponent for the Crew. After conceding three goals on Saturday, I expect Columbus’ defense to improve, but I don’t see how the offensive struggles would go away so quickly.
Columbus Crew 0 D.C. United 0

Elmer Plasencia

I fear things might get worse before they get better for the Crew as D.C. United comes to town. Both teams have been strong defensively and had times where they struggled to finish in the final third. This has been particularly a problem for Columbus, who has among the worst goal scoring production in MLS.

With weapons like Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola in D.C.’s attack making it difficult for the Crew backline, it will make it that much more difficult to build opportunities from open play. Despite the two-game skid for Columbus, the team has shown the ability to create chances, if they can just combine that with finishing, this matchup could play in their favor. If they can’t, we may be looking at another multiple goal defeat and unfortunately I don’t see it going the Crew’s way.
D.C. United 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Jimmy Lentz

Following a shocking 3-1 loss at home to the Portland Timbers this past Saturday, the Crew will have to rebound quickly as Eastern Conference-leading D.C. United arrives for a mid-week match at MAPFRE Stadium. Led by Wayne Rooney’s four goals and three assists, the English forward and his D.C. teammates will try to expose the Columbus defense in a variety of ways. All the while, the Crew needs to rehabilitate its stagnant offense.
Columbus Crew SC 1 D.C. United 1

Ralph Schudel

This game doesn’t look like it will go well for the Crew, especially with the likes of Wayne Rooney heading to town. The Black & Gold look to lick their wounds following a 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Unfortunately, I don’t think things get remedied on Wednesday night. I believe things will get worse before they get better.
D.C. United 3 Columbus Crew SC 0

How do you feel about Wednesday’s game? Can the Crew turn things around against D.C.? Let us know your predictions below.