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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Chicago Fire

What will the score look like after the Crew and the Fire meet once again?

Chicago Fire FC v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

To conclude Phase One of Major League Soccer’s restart plan, Columbus Crew SC once again faces a familiar opponent. For the second time in just over three weeks, the Black & Gold will take on the Chicago Fire. This time, however, it will be in Chicago at Soldier Field, the first time Columbus has played in the NFL stadium since 2002.

The last meeting between these two teams was a 3-0 win for the Crew at home, but the game wasn’t as dominant as the final score suggested. Will a change in city and venue make a major difference in this one or will the Black & Gold continue to ride high atop the MLS standings?

We asked our panel of writers to give their prediction for this game.

Collin Johnson

The Crew responded to two straight disappointing results with consecutive wins to increase the team’s lead at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings. Columbus has the benefit of facing a bottom-table Chicago Fire team in the last match of this phase of play before what will be a tougher schedule in the next phase. Any result worse than a draw will be a disappointment, but don’t forget how difficult road matches are in the current phase of play.

The Black & Gold will arrive in Chicago the day of the game and head home immediately afterward. The Crew will want to grab all three points in this one and will likely field a full strength team to do so.
Columbus Crew 1 Chicago Fire 0

Patrick Murphy

The last time the Crew and the Fire played, I wrote that I liked the direction of this Chicago team but thought the whole organization was in rebuild mode and the team didn’t have the talent to really compete in MLS right now. While the Fire played a tough game against the Black & Gold last month, I stand by what I said, and the standings reflect that.

With that said, it’s going to be tricky going to Soldier Field, as it was for many years in the old days of MLS. Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Fire will be out to get points. I expect a strong Crew lineup after nearly a full week to prepare and the Black & Gold once again find a way to get three points.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Jay Homan

At this point, matches appear to depend less on who the Crew is playing and more on if the team wants to score on the night. Visiting Chicago Fire in the club’s new (old) home at Soldier Field, it will be interesting to see which Crew squad takes the field. Will it be the the attack that easily dices the backline for three goals? Or the more conservative play that squeezes out a single goal for the win? For the sake of hedging the difference, I will say the latter.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Andrew Atkins

Columbus hit a stumbling block following its last thrashing of the Chicago Fire (a 3-0 victory), suffering the first defeat of the season at the hands of New York City FC and a scoreless slog of a draw against FC Cincinnati. The past two matches, however, have seen a return to form for the Crew, with the offense putting up four goals and the defense remaining an impenetrable brick wall.

While I don’t find it wise to put too much stock into a victory against FC Cincinnati, I think scoring twice was important for Gyasi Zardes who had been on a three-match scoreless streak. The Crew returning to its winning ways, along with Zardes coming off of a tremendous week, bodes well for the Black & Gold as they take on smoldering Fire. These two rival clubs are on far opposite sides of the standings going into Week 11, with Columbus firmly in first in the East and the Fire in last and Saturday’s match-up will most likely only widen that gap.
Columbus Crew 1 Chicago Fire 0

Orri Benatar

Another day, another Crew win and another Crew clean sheet. Despite expected squad rotation, the Crew’s starting 11 should still be better than what the Fire will have at Soldier Field on Saturday. Phase One will end with Columbus getting a third straight win and a ninth clean sheet of 2020. Goalscorer? I’m thinking Luis Diaz.
Columbus Crew 1 Chicago Fire 0

Thomas Costello

After two wins in a row, the Crew has great momentum going to Chicago. The Fire hasn’t had the best Phase One, with only four total points (all against FC Cincinnati). Columbus has one point out of a possible four on the road in this phase. Dating back to the game against the Seattle Sounders in March, the Black & Gold haven’t won a traditional road match all season. Columbus will end that road winless streak on Saturday. Luis Diaz and Gyasi Zardes will find the back of the net with Chicago sneaking one goal in.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 1

Doug Hildreth

The Crew seemed to have found its offensive stride again, something that can be challenging with the bus-parking defensive strategy that Cincinnati brought to both matches. After almost an entire week of rest and recovery, I expect the Crew to continue success against a struggling Chicago Fire. The Black & Gold’s last match against Chicago was the last game of strong offensive output before Sunday’s game. I expect a similar outcome, and another clean sheet.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

Nick Hudak

While the league has had to deal with a tumultuous season, Columbus has so far used that to its advantage. The Black & Gold are simply dealing with anything thrown their way at the moment and it’s hard to stop.

The bottom line is that the Crew is playing at such an extremely high level that it might become increasingly difficult for the rest of the league to stay at the top. Although the schedule has definitely been, and will continue to be, friendly, there’s no taking away from what Caleb Porter has the team doing on the field.

The Crew has only struggled on the road thus far in 2020 and depending on squad rotation against a lowly Fire side, I could see a scrappy game between the two teas as well as going the distance.
Columbus Crew 1 Chicago Fire 0

Adam Miller

After a thrilling 3-0 victory against FC Cincinnati, the Crew look to continue adding points to its already league-leading tally against the Chicago Fire. The Fire finds itself at the bottom of the MLS table and desperate for points.

Despite being at the opposite ends of the standings, this game is still a tricky one for the Black & Gold. The Fire did cause the Crew some problems at home in the 3-0 victory the last time these two sides met and the Black & Gold may again find themselves without Lucas Zelarayan. However, Columbus simply has too much quality and will be able to overpower Chicago, especially considering the Fire will likely not defend in a low defensive block. Thus, the Crew will win this one but won’t find the inevitable breakthrough until the second half.
Columbus Crew 2 Chicago Fire 0

How do you see this game going? Let us know your prediction in the comment section below.