MLS Orlando City v Columbus Crew preview (17/9/16)

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Orlando preview

The Florida outfit are clinging on to a playoff position right now, sitting in sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. But this is a very precarious position and a couple of sides behind them are waiting to pounce. Last week’s defeat at LA Galaxy (2-4) didn’t do them any favours but nobody really expected them to pick up anything in that game. Expectations will be much higher for the visit of Columbus. Orlando have only lost twice at home all season, although both of those losses have come recently against Toronto & Seattle. Jason Kreis’ men recovered to beat NYC in their last home game and a repeat performance this weekend would surely be enough to see off the Crew. In the 2015 campaign, Orlando won this fixture 5-2 and they’d love a repeat outcome. The midfield duo of Christian Higuita & Antonio Nocerino are both rated doubtful.

Columbus preview

The Crew really are drinking at the last chance saloon. They are eight points adrift of sixth spot, currently occupied by their opponents tonight. It’s been a terrible campaign for the MLS Cup runners up and their hangover has spread into this whole campaign. The Crew have only won five games all year and just once on their travels. On the road they've suffered a whopping 8 out of 12 defeats. Injuries haven't helped them and there are questionable statuses to a number of players for this match, including playmaker Higuain. Columbus are almost at the stage where there’s no pressure though. They have to be positive, have to win and they simply have to ‘go for it’

Conclusion & betting analysis

I personally think the Crew are done. Defeat at home to Vancouver last week effectively sealed their doom. This is their last chance but I’m not sure there’s the belief, motivation or quality within their squad at the moment. I’m expecting Orlando to win, and win fairly comfortably. They are usually really strong at home and know how important it is to get the job done. Jason Kreis’ men should start out on the front foot and stay there for the majority of the match. I’m surprised the hosts are so big on a -0.25 Asian handicap. This is the sort of match in which they should be clear odds-on favourites in my opinion. Over 3 goals also looks an easy and obvious selection, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. This could be a frantic end to end game but ultimately I see Orlando easily outscoring their opponents.

Prediction: 4-1

Recommended bets both 1 unit: Orlando -0.25 @ 1.83 & over 3 goals @ 1.83