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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

We give our predictions for the Black & Gold’s first game of 2022.

Nashville SC v Columbus Crew SC: Eastern Conference Semifinals - MLS Cup Playoffs Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

After months of talking about the difficulty of 2021, preseason signings and preseason matches that don’t count, the Columbus Crew returns to Field on Saturday to open the 2022 MLS season. Columbus welcomes the Vancouver Whitecaps to Ohio for the first time since March 31, 2018.

Like in past years, contributors to Massive Report will still give predictions on each match but we’re making this season more competitive. Each week, correct match results earn the predictor a point. A correct scoreline and match result earns three points.

Since this is the first match, there’s no staff table to share, but there are a lot of predictions to get through, so here we go.

Abigail Hintz

Though I think the Crew isn’t going to settle into the season right away, I think the first home opener at Field against an opponent like Vancouver is going to be rocking for the Black & Gold. Crew fans are going to get to see a lot of new faces with all the offseason signings as well as some very-missed faces returning from injury, specifically Artur returning to the midfield after being out for more than a season.

I don’t know that Saturday will be a shutout as the new defense will still need to build chemistry, but the Crew offense has this one in the bag.
Columbus Crew 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Adam Miller

The Black & Gold open up this MLS season with a game they should absolutely win. Vancouver is a decent side and will play a part in the Western Conference for sure, but the Crew has had a good preseason and will need to capitalize on “home opener momentum” on Saturday.

This is a game where the Crew should dominate possession and slowly wear down the ‘Caps. Gyasi Zardes will score just before half before Luis Diaz caps the game off in the second half leading to that all familiar scoreline.
Columbus Crew 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Brian Moracz

The first match of the season, adrenaline pumping, playing at home against a Vancouver Whitecaps team that has to travel over 2,000 miles to start their season. Anything but a win is a disappointment.

I expect both teams to come flying out of the gate from the start, energized by the atmosphere that accompanies the first matchday of the season, but I don’t expect that energy to translate to quality and goals as both clubs try to find their footing early in this campaign. A sloppy, but energetic and entertaining match, sees Lucas Zelarayán score a late winner as the Black & Gold start their season with three points.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Caleb Denorme

As the Crew starts off the season, the biggest focus will be the defense. I expect Milos Degenek to slide in along Jonathan Mensah and play well, but I believe Vancouver’s forward Brian White will get one past Eloy Room early on.

Even after the Crew starts slowly, expect the team to go back on the offensive and dominate the Whitecaps defense until Gyasi Zardes scores the Black and Gold’s opening goal of the season. After that, the floodgates will open and Lucas Zelarayán will score the second, then the third will be willed in by substitute Yaw Yeboah, who makes an immediate impact off the bench.
Columbus Crew 3 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Collin Johnson

Columbus’ struggles last season are well known and Vancouver returns to play on the back of a surprising playoff appearance in 2021. The Whitecaps rode Brian White and first-year coach Vanni Sartini all the way to a sixth-place finish before bowing out of the MLS Cup playoffs in Kansas City.

Both teams will be looking to start the season on the front foot, though the road side may play somewhat more conservatively. The Crew has had three preseason matches but is still a work in progress. Both teams will have their chances but I look for this to be a 1-1 draw with the Crew starting slowly and settling into control of this match in the second half.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Drew McDaniel

Columbus will control possession at about 65 percent while Vancouver sits back and attempts to counter. Vancouver will create one or two dangerous chances on the counter but ultimately fail to score. A combination of uncomfortable weather and a lack of team chemistry will result in a failure to connect on long balls over the top.

While the Crew will have the ball in the attacking half more often, Vancouver will bunker down and make it difficult for them to score. Columbus will break through in the second half after a poor clearance by their goalkeeper puts the ball clear on goal for Berry.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Grant Miller

Season openers tend to be awkward affairs. Squads are rusty, teammates haven’t built continuity yet and the weather is usually less than ideal. Both of these teams did finish 2021 with a good run of form where the Whitecaps played a more open attacking style, one that might cause a newer Columbus backline trouble.

I predict Vancouver scores early from the run of play, catching the Crew off balance. The Black & Gold will grab the tie from either a corner or perhaps a magnificent Zelarayán free-kick.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Kyle Jackson

The 2022 season is going to start off with a bang, as Miguel Berry will sub on in the second half and score a brace to propel the Crew to a dominant win on opening day.
Columbus Crew 3 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Nathan Townsend

While Vancouver was a playoff team in the Western Conference last year, they were vulnerable up the middle. I expect the Crew to be able to put together several opportunities but may struggle to connect for more than one. The defense will do enough though to keep the clean sheet and the crew take the three points in the home opener
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Patrick Murphy

The Crew wants to be a hard team to play against in 2022 and I think that will be evident in the season opener. The defense was good in the preseason as the offense started to come along late and I believe that will be the case in this one. While I believe you will see games where the Black & Gold consistently finds the back of the net, Saturday won’t be that day.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Ryan Schmitt

Just like any opening season game, I think this game will be rather slow. Both teams will spend time trying to get chemistry between new and old players and to try and unlock each other.

I hope to see some new faces on the field for the first game and a few returners from injury. My bold prediction for the game is a Jonathan Mensah header off a corner kick to open the scoring, but I think Columbus concedes but ultimately wins.
Columbus Crew 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Theodore Sovinski

The Vancouver Whitecaps were the feel-good story in MLS last year, charging into the playoffs after replacing head coach Marc Dos Santos with Sartini. The Italian is one of the most entertaining personalities in the league and led Vancouver back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Whitecaps have a 4-1-0 record in Columbus but I think the Black & Gold walk away the victor this time. Gyasi Zardes and Derrick Etienne Jr. score for Columbus and Brian White gets one back late for Vancouver.
Columbus Crew 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Thomas Costello

The Black & Gold have all talked about motivation coming into this season. After all, not making the playoffs a year after hoisting the MLS Cup is a letdown. That motivation will be on display against Vancouver.

Columbus gives up a goal as new defensive partnerships form, but the offense will put the Crew on top. Luis Diaz will score, alongside Gyasi Zardes in a victory in front of a happy, and maybe cold, stadium of supporters.
Columbus Crew 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Zach Martin

I think Miguel Berry will score in the 35th minute on a cross from Pedro Santos. Gyasi Zardes will sub on for Berry in the 70th minute. Vancouver will unfortunately tie it up in the 60th minute. The game will finish in a draw.
Columbus Crew 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Give your score predictions for today’s match in the comment section below.