Columbus Crew preview
The Crew have had a two week break to reflect on their poor season. They head into this match having failed to win any of their last nine contests, which is a terrible return. Last season they finished as MLS Cup runners up, but 2016 has been a much more challenging year. It’s difficult to say exactly what's gone wrong. It seems they have been affected by issues in all areas of the field at various different times. The last time they played was a 0-3 hammering away at Toronto. Prior to that, there was some evidence of the ‘old Columbus during a streak of three straight home games which they drew. The Crew should’ve won at least two of those games but surrendered leads in all of those contests. It rather sums them up this year, all too often they’ve thrown away good positions. Key playmaker Federico Higuain should at least be back here after missing six weeks due to a hernia injury. Despite their poor campaign, Columbus have only lost one home game all year, although they've drawn a whopping 7/11 contests at Mapfre Stadium!
New York City preview
Patrick Vieira has led New York City to the top of the Eastern Conference. Things certainly haven't been plain sailing for them but the return to fitness of Frank Lampard has been key for in recent weeks. Lamps was ridiculed for his start to life in a NYC shirt, but since he’s been in better health, the ex Chelsea man has made one hell of an impact. The three designated NYC players all seem to combine really well together and it generates a great spine to this team. Pirlo as a deep lying playmaker, Lampard as an attacking midfielder and then David Villa upfront works perfectly. The squad has been pretty settled in the last few weeks and NYC are also really good on the road. Remarkably, this will be their seventh away match in nine games. But it’s unlikely to worry Vieira because his team have by far the best road record out of anyone in MLS.
Conclusion & betting analysis
I think this will be a really open game of football. NYC have shown an ability to be tight this season but if they are sucked into a shootout then they won't complain. Columbus are at a stage in the year where only victories are acceptable. They simply have to ‘go for it’ and settling for a draw won't be acceptable. The hosts can't defend anyway and leave way too many holes at the back. There is plenty of strong offensive firepower within both teams which should lead to a good game of football containing chances at both ends. With that in mind, over 3 goals is a fairly easy selection, especially with odds around the 1.99 mark. I also think Columbus are massively overrated here. It's incredible they are odds-on in many places! You can get NYC @4.20 to win, and this is worth a smaller unit.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @ 1.99 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)
Recommended bet 0.5 unit: New York City win @4.20 (minimum odds acceptable 3.60)