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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Austin FC

Here is what the Massive Report staff thinks will happen on Sunday night in Texas.

San Jose Earthquakes v Austin FC Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

It’s Sunday night football on FOX Sports 1 and it’s a big matchup. The Columbus Crew is in Austin, Texas taking on the newest MLS club, Austin FC, at its new Q2 Stadium. MLS is leaning into this match as a potential rivalry as one of two games for the Crew against Western Conference opposition and giving it a late kick off on national television.

Here are the Massive Report predictions for Sunday’s first-ever game between the Black & Gold and VERDE.

Guilherme Torres

This is obviously one of the biggest matches of the season for the Crew and not for the impact it could have in the standings but for all the narratives that involve Columbus and Austin. The Black & Gold have responded well to big matches lately and are the favorites in my opinion despite playing on the road.

I don’t expect a high-scoring match given the Crew’s well-documented road struggles and Austin’s inability to put the ball in the back of the net — they have the worst offense in the entire league with only six goals scored. Both teams have been solid defensively for the most part and I see the Crew pulling it out in a hard-fought match in Texas.
Columbus Crew 1 Austin FC 0

Abigail Hintz

Rivalry or not, this is going to be a good game. Coming off a frustrating loss to the Philadelphia Union, Caleb Porter’s squad is going to look to get back on track and fast. Austin sits at 11th in the Western Conference standings and hasn’t won a game since May 1. I don’t believe the Crew is going to give them that satisfaction on Sunday. Both teams played on Wednesday so there is no advantage in terms of rest. As long as the Crew can shake the travel out of their system, they won’t have an issue.
Columbus Crew 2 Austin FC 0

Thomas Costello

The Columbus Crew and Austin FC will be a good first chapter of the on-field rivalry for Columbus. Expect Columbus to come out strong and Gyasi Zardes will score the first goal in Q2 Stadium history. Lucas Zelarayan will show the home side a good show with a second Black & Gold goal. Austin will be outmatched against the defending MLS Cup champions and lose for the Crew’s second away win of the MLS season.
Columbus Crew 2 Austin FC 1

Patrick Guldan

Off the field, emotions will be high for Crew fans. On the field, this comes as the third game in nine days, a true grind for both teams.

Austin is one of the more solid expansion teams in recent memory. They are well-balanced. They also play a familiar style, with Gregg Berhalter disciple Josh Wolff in charge. Austin is still lacking in top talent, especially on offense.

The Crew is finally getting healthy in key spots. Kevin Molino is getting fit and Milton Valenzuela finally saw the field after over two months off. Even with Artur and Bradley Wright-Phillips sidelined, Gyasi Zardes is as fit as anyone on the team, Lucas Zelarayan is a game-breaker and Liam Fraser has been a minor revelation.

This is still a great Crew defense that can hold any team scoreless, especially one struggling like Austin. They also have enough individual talent to steal a goal even if things aren’t going to plan. A scrappy, tired Crew does the job.
Columbus Crew 2 Austin FC 0

Patrick Murphy

I’m rather interested to see how both teams approach this game. Is the intensity as high on the field as it might be in the stands — or more likely on Twitter? If the drama from 2017-19 and the end of the Anthony Precourt era in Columbus is a bigger story than the game itself, that’s probably not good news for the Crew.

The Black & Gold certainly have the talent and experience to go get a win on the road against an expansion side that is still trying to figure itself out and is pretty banged up, with a number of key players — Alex Ring and Matt Besler included — questionable for the match. I do believe there will be some extra motivation for some of these Columbus players, if for nothing more than they know what it would mean to a number of fans to see their team win in Precourt’s new stadium.

I think the Crew leaves Austin with three points, but Josh Wolff and company don’t make it easy.
Columbus Crew 2 Austin FC 1

Collin Johnson

The Crew finishes a congested eight-day period of matches with a trip west to the new home of an old “friend.” Columbus did well to rotate the squad in Wednesday’s match against the Philadelphia Union, so Caleb Porter should be able to put out a nearly full-strength squad. Austin is dealing with its own injuries and goal-scoring problems. Midfield engine Alex Ring may play but is still dealing with a significant knock.

On its trip to Texas’s capital, the Crew will have the chance to score the first MLS goal in Q2 Stadium and send some new rivals home unhappy. Columbus will be happy to cede possession to Austin and will utilize a lethal counter attack to put this match out of reach in the first half.
Columbus Crew 3 Austin FC 0

Orri Benatar

The atmosphere will be electric for a match that, if you think about it, wasn’t supposed to happen in the eyes of Anthony Precourt in 2017. It’s an unlikely rivalry that could grow into a real rivalry or phase out after Sunday’s game at Q2 Stadium. From a soccer standpoint, the Crew is much stronger than Austin and a second road win should be accomplished from the Black & Gold. Columbus starts its new MLS stadium tour with three points.
Columbus Crew 1 Austin FC 0

Adam Miller

The Crew is set up for one of the most anticipated games of the year in Austin. Coming off a frustrating loss to the Philadelphia Union, the Black & Gold are looking to rebound on the road in this one before the opening of Field on July 3. Despite their road struggles, the Black & Gold take this one in commanding fashion and dominate the majority of the match. Gyasi Zardes scores two before Lucas Zelarayan caps off the win.
Columbus Crew 3 Austin FC 0

Ralph Schudel

An expansion side has defeated a defending MLS Cup Champion only four times since 2005. The Crew fell victim to an expansion Seattle Sounders squad in 2009 but I don’t foresee that happening again on Sunday evening. Austin FC has failed to score in six of its first 10 MLS matches, making them the first team in MLS history to do so in more than half of their first 10 matches. El Tree have a talented squad with the likes of Cecilio Dominguez, Diego Fagundez and goalkeeper Brad Stuver.

That being said, Austin is prone to switching off at key moments of the match. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Gyasi Zardes sneak in behind the Austin defense courtesy of a great pass from the wing and generate a quality scoring opportunity. It’s going to be a tight one, but I see the Black & Gold sneaking out the victory.
Columbus Crew 1 Austin FC 0

What’s your prediction for the Crew’s trip to Austin? Let us know in the comment section below.