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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Minnesota United

Can the Black & Gold get a win against the Loons in the MLS regular season?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC vs Minnesota United FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United will meet for the second time this season on Wednesday evening. The first meeting was one Black & Gold fans will like to forget, as the Loons knocked the Crew out of the MLS is Back Tournament in the Round of 16 on penalty kicks back in late July.

But now, the Black & Gold are the best team in Major League Soccer, sitting atop the Supporters’ Shield standings, while Minnesota has been up and down but remains just three points adrift of the top spot in the Western Conference.

Crew head coach Caleb Porter called this game the biggest challenge of the year this week. Can Columbus get its biggest win of the season? Let’s see what our staff expects.

Andrew Atkins

The Crew is entering arguably it’s toughest week of competition this season with Minnesota United and Toronto FC in back-to-back games. The last time the Black & Gold and Loons met, Minnesota knocked the Crew out of the MLS is Back Tournament in a penalty kick shootout following a 1-1 draw, in which Columbus was missing its starting goalkeeper, Eloy Room.

Looking at current form, however, Minnesota has stumbled as of late. Since the regular season commenced following the tournament, Minnesota is just 2-1-4, compared to Columbus’ impressive 4-2-1.

While the lack of Darlington Nagbe continues to be felt during the Crew’s performances on the pitch, Columbus has proven capable of getting results with just about any combination of players at this point in the season, and I look for the team to take a point out of this hard-fought rematch. Columbus Crew is entering, arguably, it’s toughest week of competition this season with Minnesota United and Toronto FC back-to-back. The last time the Black & Gold and Loons met, Minnesota knocked the Crew out of the MLS is Back tournament following a penalty kick shootout following a 1-1 draw, in which Columbus was missing its starting keeper Eloy Room. Looking at current form, however, Minnesota has stumbled as of late. Since the regular season commenced following the tournament, Minnesota is just 2-1-4, compared to Columbus’ impressive 4-2-1.

While the lack of Darlington Nagbe continues to be felt during the Crew’s performances on the pitch, Columbus has proven capable of getting results with just about any combination of players at this point in the season, and I look for them to take a point out of this hard-fought rematch.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 1

Orri Benatar

I think the middle of this week is where the Crew’s perfect home record ends. The reason I’m saying it is Minnesota knows how to keep the Crew offense locked down and the Loons need to get points with just one in their last two games. It should be another tactical battle between Caleb Porter and Adrian Heath and it’ll end the same as it did in Orlando but with no penalties to be played.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 1

Collin Johnson

The Crew’s penalty-kick “loss” to Minnesota in the MLS is Back Tournament is the only real disappointment in an otherwise excellent season. The Black & Gold have a chance to rectify that loss and pick up a vital home three points in their quest for a Supporters’ Shield as the Loons travel to Columbus on Wednesday. A healthy Darlington Nagbe would put this match into comfortable win territory but Nagbe is out for two to three more weeks. Fortunately, Lucas Zelarayan should be back in the starting lineup after returning against Nashville SC. Both Fatai Alashe and Sebastian Berhalter have performed well in the central midfield but Nagbe’s absence will still be felt.

Minnesota is not without its own absences with Ossie Alonso and Jan Gregus set to miss the match. Nagbe might be the current Crew MVP but the Loons’ multiple absences are the more glaring of the two. If Columbus can play its game and avoid a slow start like the team had against the Chicago Fire, the Black & Gold should get to 30 points against Minnesota.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 0

Jay Homan

The Crew is lucky to host Minnesota United. The Loons have not had the best results on the road since MLS returned to home markets. They have recorded a record of 0-3-1 and a goal differential of -6 in the team’s four away matches. Compare that to four wins for the Crew at home in the same timespan with four clean sheets and nine goals scored and Columbus should add another win to the tally. Although I will not be surprised if much of the game is sloppy with minimal chances on goal, I do expect the Crew to break through with a late goal to end the deadlock.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 0

Patrick Murphy

Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Minnesota since the MLS is Back Tournament concluded. The Loons haven’t been able to sustain the form that got the team to the final eight in Orlando, while the Crew has rolled right along, despite a loss to United in late July.

I think this game is going to look similar to Columbus’ contest against the Philadelphia Union a few weeks, a battle of two talented teams that will come down to a moment or two either way. I think the Black & Gold will get more of those moments, playing at home in front of a limited number of fans, and come out with another win.
Columbus Crew 2 Minnesota United 1

Thomas Costello

Columbus and Minnesota are both coming off very different performances. The Black & Gold won 2-0 and Minnesota United lost a 2-0 lead to gain only a point from the 10th place Houston Dynamo. That performance from United won’t bring the team to MAPFRE Stadium in the greatest mood. It’s going to be a close contest between the two. Luis Diaz will score his first of the season and help Columbus get a point.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 1

Drew Niccum

Columbus has already faced Minnesota once this year, in an encounter I’m sure Crew fans want to forget. This will be a tough match and we know that the Loons can shut down the Crew offense. I think I say something like this every game, but again, the Crew needs to be meticulous and patient in breaking down the opponent’s defense. A (hopefully) starting Lucas Zelarayan should help this immensely. It will be a frustrating game, but as long as the defense can hold out and avoid any set piece goals, Columbus should come out of this with at least a point. I’m going for a win on this one, but it’s going to be close, and could swing either way. I say Gyasi Zardes gets the lone goal.
Columbus Crew 1 Minnesota United 0


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