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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Atlanta United

Can the Black & Gold show they are on par with one of the East’s top teams?

SOCCER: JUN 18 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 - Atlanta United at Columbus Crew SC Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you feel like you haven’t seen Columbus Crew SC in a while, it’s because you haven’t. The Black & Gold last played on Aug. 31 and were off last week with players away on international duty. The Crew used the week to refresh themselves and get ready for the final four games of the 2019 Major League Soccer regular season.

The first test of the final push is Atlanta United. The Five Stripes started the season slowly but have recovered well and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference on 48 points. The defending MLS Cup champions are in a good spot to return to the postseason for the third straight year, but a win against Columbus will take them one step closer.

While the Crew are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, it’s likely only a matter of time at this point. The team wants to focus on playing well and proving that the summer swoon was an aberration that won’t happen again. Beating United in Atlanta would be a good start.

Can the Black & Gold do it? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Nick Hudak

Time is running out for the Crew if the team is looking to push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s a daunting stretch that the Black & Gold face and it starts with a trip to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Atlanta. The Five Stripes have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions. The race for the top seed is on and United certainly has the capability to make it there.

Saturday’s game will be a case of whether or not Columbus can get the team’s most-needed result of the season, a win in one of the league’s toughest environments. It’s certainly going to be a win-or-go-home scenario for the Crew once and for all. If the group can’t bring three points back to Columbus, it should signal an end for the playoff hopes the team still has. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to see an instance where Columbus can come out on top.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Collin Johnson

With playoff chances nearly squashed, the Crew is now playing for bragging rights and for next year. Atlanta United is firmly in the hunt for a playoff bye, so Columbus has the chance to play spoilers for the Five Stripes one more time. The Black & Gold have struggled more than they’ve thrived against Atlanta United, though they’ve yet to face off under the current system focused more on counter-attacking than possessing the ball. If the Crew can stay defensively organized, the team has a chance to grab a road point, but they’ll have to withstand Atlanta’s barrage of attacking options, including a rejuvenated Justin Meram.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Jay Homan

Finally, a Columbus vs. Atlanta matchup that won’t be delayed due to severe weather. Or at least I would expect not as the match is taking place within a dome. Unfortunately, that is a negative for the Crew. In the previous two matchups this year, the weather often acted as a 12th man for the Black & Gold. Frustrating and unsettling Atlanta every time the winds and rain became torrential.

Atlanta will be more comfortable on the turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium using the extra pace to compliment the team’s playing style. Even with Ezequiel Barco out, the Crew backline will have to be ready for an onslaught of shot attempts as Josef Martinez tries to match his goal tally from last season. The Crew is historically not good on the road and even worse against Atlanta. It may take something as unlikely as a weather delay in a dome for the Black & Gold to get a point on the road in Georgia.
Atlanta United 3 Columbus Crew SC 1

Patrick Guldan

Atlanta is a cut above the Crew and it should show on Saturday. Columbus has improved since the transfer window and has several new additions that finally are starting to settle in. Luis Diaz is a difference maker and Youness Mohktar, Romario Williams and Jordan Hamilton provide depth and a different look. The defense, on the other hand, still looks shaky since it’s been decimated by injury. Atlanta has always had talent, but now the pieces are fitting together and Frank de Boer is letting them play attacking soccer again. After a spring of discontent, United finally look formidable right as the Crew come to town.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Jimmy Lentz

Columbus Crew SC (31 points) and Atlanta United (48 points) enter this weekend from two completely different ends of the Eastern Conference. In addition to being just six points out of first place in the East with a game in-hand on New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United has conceded the second-fewest goals this season (33) coupled with a 10-1-3 record at home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Frank de Boer’s side will play with a killer instinct to get a result...indoors and on turf (just like in Europe). After a week off from competition, it will be interesting to see how the Crew utilized this extra time and if necessary tactical and organizational adjustments were made to possibly make a surprise statement on the road.
Atlanta United 3 Columbus Crew SC 1

Mike Crosky

Atlanta has found itself under first year head coach Frank de Boer. The Five Stripes won the U.S. Open Cup and are fighting to climb the ranks from third in the Eastern Conference to first. Columbus can say the team is still playing for playoff hopes, but the reality is the players are vying for positions next year and to continue to build off a relatively successful couple of months. Atlanta will play in front of 50,000-plus fans at home and with something to play for. I see this one going in favor of United.
Atlanta United 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Ralph Schudel

It’s been a down season for Columbus Crew SC but one of the bright spots is the Black & Gold’s success against defending champions, Atlanta United. Despite poor form from the Crew throughout the 2019 campaign, the Black & Gold have a chance at a season sweep on Saturday.

However things have changed since their last encounter on March 30. The defending champs are in form and ready to make some noise for the upcoming MLS playoffs.
Atlanta United 1 Columbus Crew SC 0

Do you agree with our staff? How do you see this game playing out? Let us know in the comment section below.