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New York City FC vs Columbus Crew Prediction

Columbus will play host to New York City FC on Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 pm EST at the new field in Columbus, OH. Columbus are coming off a hard fought derby against Cincinnati FC, where after going down two goals and having a man sent off, they put two on the board to scavenge one point from a draw. The defending champs have had a mediocre season at best, putting up fantastic results alongside poor ones, and sitting themselves right in the middle of the table.

New York City FC have had a different tale of a season despite being tied with Columbus at 17 points. They started off red hot, setting themselves apart as one of the top teams in the MLS only to slowly lose steam and gather some disappointing results. Most recently, a 2-1 loss against Montreal. Both teams have an opportunity to put the other well below them on the table and jump into the top five.

New York City FC’s Ways to Win

Something happens to NYCFC when they get on the road and it’s not good. The travel gets to them and they play slower. The crowd gets to them and they play sloppier soccer. Their away record this season is especially poor, and something that has to change if they want to play for a championship. In order to win this, they have to flip a switch. Columbus is not an easy place to play, so they need to get to their roots.

Right now, their roots are Valentin Castellanos, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, and Jesus Medina. Get any of these three inside or around the box, and defenses and goalies alike will be worried. The movement of this combo is one of the best in the MLS as they both threaten to get behind the defense in those tight spaces as well as shoot from outside the box. They do especially well in creating small pockets of space where they can strike from range effectively. Get these three isolated one on one in attack and good things will come.

Defensively is where NYCFC have looked shaky recently. Partly due to losing James Sands and Sean Johnson to the USMNT Gold Cup roster, but mostly because the unit is not cohesive. They gave up an especially stupid penatly to Montreal and Johnson’s replacement Barazza is a weakness. The Crew need to be held to limited shots.

Columbus Crew’s Ways to Win

The Crew should be licking their lips headed into this game after watching Montreal make a fool of the NYCFC defense. Columbus, with their home support, should pressure high and hard. Don’t let NYCFC even try to build out of the back. Lose the ball high up the field and pressure immediately. Take plenty of shots against Barazza and make him think. Make him make decisions. Play long balls in behind. Cross the ball to the second six. Make Barazza take command and see how he does.

Defensively, the name of the game is tight and disciplined. NYCFC’s individual talent is really strong and getting complacent will be the end of the Crew’s hopes. It’s quite simple. Don’t bite on fakes and follow your runners or pass them off with clear communication. NYCFC don’t make their own chances quite often, they capitalize on mistakes. Limit those mistakes.

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew Prediction

Both of these teams are evenly matched, but one has been in significantly better form. That team is also playing against home where they have done especially well against a team that has done especially poorly away. The logic is sound. If NYCFC plays to the best of their ability, they can come away with a draw. With their absences and lack of ability on the road, it will be a shocker if they win.

Prediction: Columbus Crew 2 NYCFC 1

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