MLS – Columbus Crew v Orlando City Preview (23/7/16)

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Columbus preview

The frustration continues for the Crew. It looked like they were going to claim a rare win last week against DC United but succumbed to a late equaliser and only drew 1-1. In truth, it wasn’t a particularly inspiring match but Columbus had all the chances, therefore it was a big blow to concede right at the death. Incredibly, the Crew have only won 3 out of 19 games in MLS this season. Bear in mind they were the runners up in last year’s MLS Cup so it’s been a real flop campaign. Not a lot has gone right for them and they look set to miss key playmaker Federico Higuain who’s still recovering from hernia surgery. At least upfront they have a hot striker in Ola Kamara who’s been in great form, averaging nearly a goal per game. Columbus have still retained some sort of homefield strength in 2016, only losing one game here. But it’s been a string of draws which has constantly hindered them.

Orlando preview

The Florida side have been going through an extremely turbulent period. Poor form in the league and a shock cup exit was followed by the sacking of long standing coach Adrian Heath. Since then it’s been difficult for Orlando, especially as star playmaker Kaka has been out with injury. Jason Kreis has now been named as their new manager, but won’t be taking over until after this match. So Bobby Murphy has one more game in charge as caretaker coach. Maybe things are starting to settle at the club and they produced a pretty good performance last week at Vancouver, drawing 2-2. That was their best display under Murphy and surely they can head into this contest with some sort of confidence. It looked like the old Orlando was back last week, returning to their positive attacking self. They’ll also be helped by the return of Kaka here and they are always much more dangerous with him in the side.

Conclusion & Betting analysis

I’m surprised the Crew are so short here, there’s no way I’d be backing them @ 1.65. This is a team that's struggled for wins all campaign and often finds a way to cock up games. Orlando are nothing special on the road but do possess decent attacking threat and should have more confidence following last week’s result. I think this is going to be a good game of football in which both teams push forward. The Crew have shown signs of that recently and it’s their natural way. Someone like DC United were never going to operate in that style last weekend, it always takes two to tango. I think Orlando are willing to dance here and fight fire with fire. Over 3 goals looks like a good pick to me. Maybe over 2.75 is an option is you’re feeling more conservative, but I prefer to take the bigger price @ 2.08. I think there should be at least three goals, and if things really open up then it could end up as a proper high scorer.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 3 goals @ 1.99

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