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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Nashville SC

Can the Black & Gold get a first-ever win against the MLS expansion side?

Columbus Crew SC v Chicago Fire Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

There aren’t many firsts any more in Major League Soccer, but we’ll get one on Saturday night. Columbus Crew SC is set to take on MLS 2020 expansion side Nashville SC at MAPFRE Stadium in the two teams’ initial meeting.

The Crew, despite a disappointing 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire last week, still sits at the top of the MLS standings. Nashville, meanwhile, is in ninth place in the Eastern Conference but is unbeaten in four matches. Can the league’s first black and gold team end that run at home? We asked our staff to give their predictions and thoughts on the game.

Andrew Atkins

Columbus Crew’s defense is hard to beat and Nashville SC’s attack has struggled to get on the scoresheet, averaging 0.8 goals per match (half of Columbus’ 1.6). While Nashville’s defense touts an impressive five shutouts on the season thus far, the Crew has shown an ability to penetrate difficult defenses scoring in all but two of its regular season competitions. The potential of entering into Phase Two without key players such as Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelerayan is cause for concern, however, these concerns are more likely to surface in later matches against Minnesota United and Toronto FC.

In regards to Nashville SC, the depth that Columbus has built into its roster should prove capable of dealing with the struggling expansion club.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Guilherme Torres

Expansion teams are typically the most difficult to predict and Nashville is no exception. The Tennessee side had the worst offense in the Eastern Conference until last weekend when it surprisingly scored four goals against Atlanta United. Since the Crew had its own defensive struggles against Chicago last Saturday, that’s something to keep an eye on.

All in all, however, the Black & Gold are clearly the best team in the match and playing at home should have no trouble in getting another win and remaining on top of the table. With an entire week to prepare for the first time since play restarted, hopefully the Crew figured out its injury problems and will be able to show up at full force at MAPFRE Stadium.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Derrick Smith

As the Black & Gold host the Music City side this weekend, the Crew will meet a Nashville club that not only sweats Columbus’ main kit color but also the “SC” suffix that attaches to each team.

Weird flex Nashville, but onto the game.

The Crew showed depth and its ability to persevere over the last few months and the team will need it against a scrappy bunch of veterans and newcomers that always make an expansion side unpredictable and at times uninspiring. I tend to lean more towards the unpredictable when casting my thoughts on who will win the match this weekend. With Nashville going scoreless against a weak Inter Miami side then putting four goals up on Atlanta United, it is possible that the Crew could have its hands full this match. However, I predict that Nashville will be listening to the local station, playing a sad country song, on the team’s drive back home after Columbus outlasts Nashville and claims the three points in an unorthodox fashion.
Columbus Crew 4 Nashville SC 3

Doug Hildreth

Predicting the Crew’s performance has become increasing challenging. Just when it seems this club is on a roll, it hits a speed bump like the previous game against Chicago. With one of the best chances to gain three points coming up, the Crew needs to find some consistency. If Darlington Nagbe or Lucas Zelarayan can get back in the starting lineup, things look more optimistic. If neither of them can suit up, the Crew will need big performances out of Luis Diaz and Pedro Santos, which I think they are capable of. This may not be the prettiest victory in Crew history, but I think they squeak this one out.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 1

Patrick Murphy

Nashville has played better of late, with eight of the team’s 12 points coming in the last 20 days. But two of those four games were against Inter Miami — last in the East — and one was against Atlanta United — barely inside the East’s 10 playoff teams.

I still expect this to be a difficult game for the Crew, however, as I don’t think Nashville will make it easy on the Black & Gold. Coming to MAPFRE Stadium, I expect Nashville to sit back and not provide any room for Columbus to work in behind. It will be up to the Crew to break down a compact defense. Scoring early would be ideal.

I’m not sure if that happens, but I think the Black & Gold does find the back of the net and hold Nashville off it.,
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Collin Johnson

The Crew will be happy to return home after a hard-fought draw in Chicago. Fortunately, Columbus hosts expansion side Nashville SC in its first match of the second phase of returning to MLS stadiums.

With two tough matches coming next against Minnesota and Toronto, the Black & Gold will want to secure all three points against Nashville. The expansion side is no slouch, having just beat Atlanta United and going undefeated in their last four matches. One or both of Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe will hopefully return and should provide a huge boost. If the Crew can avoid an early match letdown like they had against the Fire, the Black & Gold should open the next phase of play with a win at home.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Orri Benatar

Nashville SC is developing into a good team and is on a hot streak of late. Columbus had a tough contest against Chicago and showed adversity without Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan. MAPFRE Stadium is becoming a fortress for the Crew with four wins and four clean sheets at home. Even if those two players do not play on Saturday, that streak will continue to kick off Phase Two and keep Columbus in first place in the East.
Columbus Crew 1 Nashville SC 0

Drew Niccum

Although this is Nashville’s first season, the expansion side is no push over. The club has one of the best center backs in the league in Walker Zimmerman and has posted a shutout in five of its 10 games.

With that being said, Nashville’s offense has struggled. Until its last game against Atlanta United, the offense had failed to score more than once in a game and had been shutout four times. It seems unlikely that the Crew will concede. The key to the game for Columbus will be breaking down a tighter defense, something the Black & Gold has struggled with. Still, I expect the Crew to come away with a win, boosted by the result at the weekend and hopefully the returns of Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan. I say Gyasi Zardes gets two goals.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Thomas Costello

For the Crew to be as successful as the team has been, with the revolving door of lineups, is a testament to the way this club has been built. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Darlington Nagbe returns, and helps put the Chicago result further in the rear view mirror. Luis Diaz and Pedro Santos score for a Columbus victory.
Columbus Crew 2 Nashville SC 0

Jay Homan

How much does a previous week’s form play into the following week’s performance? If a lot, Crew the should be afraid. In reality though, probably less than supporters like to believe.

Sure, a 4-2 win for Nashville SC against Atlanta United will have the team flying high. Especially after reviewing tapes of a Columbus squad that had to squeeze out a draw against the Chicago Fire. Having that energy, that victory high, will be helpful, but is very different from replicating previous weeks results.

This week, Nashville goes up against the Crew who still leads the league with the fewest goals allowed this season. Nashville SC will have to make the most of its opportunities if the team wants to leave Columbus with points, while the Crew should only need to find the back of the net one or two times to maintain its lead at the top of the East.
Columbus Crew 1 Nashville SC 0

What do you think will be the score of the Crew against Nashville SC? Let us know your prediction in the comment section below.