After last weekend’s thrashing of New England at Toyota Park, the Fire look to be back on track as they turn their attention towards a meeting in Columbus with an old friend, the Crew. Both teams come into this game with different backdrops on their respective seasons, so let’s take a look at how they’ll be shaping up before kickoff.
A big win at home was exactly what the Fire needed to pick themselves up after a dip in form, and that’s what we got. Scoring four goals, while also putting in a solid defensive effort, will no doubt boost confidence levels heading into this rivalry matchup, and hopefully put Columbus on the back foot from the get go.
Contrary to what I believed last weekend, David Accam is still seemingly in Pauno’s plans after getting the start against the Revolution. This is good news for everyone involved, and hopefully the distractions that have come from his saga can stay somewhat quiet regardless of what happens next.
Thankfully there are no injuries or noteworthy concerns for the rest of the squad, so expect there to be little change in the starting lineup that dominated the Revs last Saturday.
The Crew haven’t been playing to their normal standards this season. That’s easy to see. They currently sit in the sixth spot in the East, and have struggled to find enough form to put them in contention for the top spots.
Don’t be fooled though; they have a talented roster that’s just been boosted by new signing, Pedro Santos, who comes to Columbus with extensive experience playing with one of the top clubs in Portugal: SC Braga. His threat comes from the wing, which will ensure that Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent will have their hands full from the start.
Ola Kamara leads the Black and Gold in goals with 11, which is an impressive number to say the least. Aided by midfielder Justin Meram who sits just behind him at nine goals, Kamara and the rest of the Crew attack will have no problem putting on a show if the Fire backline aren’t disciplined. Add in the boost of a new Designated Player signing, and they will be coming out with a bang in front of their home fans.
Folks, I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again: this is a rivalry matchup, and it will be a battle. Over the past few years of the Fire’s downward spiral, the Crew have always relished the opportunity to put a beating on their neighbors in the Eastern Conference. Now the tables have turned, and nothing would be greater than rolling into Mapfre Stadium, walking all over them during the game, and leaving as winners. This season has been special, and this would put the icing on the cake.
Prediction: Fire to win 1-0
As always, find me on twitter for questions/concerns/jokes about Columbus leading up to kickoff @kieran_ruane
Until next time, peace.