It’s been a long five weeks, but Quakes soccer is finally back at Avaya. On the surface, the Quakes (4-4-2) and Crew (4-3-2) look evenly matched, but looks can be deceiving.
Scouting Report: Columbus Crew
According to mlssoccer.com, Columbus averages 1.67 goals/game.* The Quakes average just one goal/game. Columbus concedes an average one goal/game. The Quakes are just over at 1.1 goals/game. This means that not only does Columbus have a better offense than us, they also have a better defense. Their goal differential is +5 (tied for second in the league and first in the East) while ours is -1. That’s a difference of six goals between two teams tied with 14 points.
The Crew are stacked with offense and defense. Kei Kamara co-leads the MLS in goals with seven (tied with Dempsey). They also have three other players with two goals or more on the season (the Quakes just have one: Wondo): Justin Merem, Ethan Finlay–who also co-leads the league with five assists–and Frederico Higuain. They also have a proven youngster in MLS sophomore Wil Trapp (just 22 years old), who has been out with a concussion, but is now eligible to play. Defensively they have two really good CBs in Michael Parkhurst and Emanuel Pogatetz, and Steve Clark as the ‘keeper. That kind of versatility will win a lot of games, so expect Columbus to finish near the top of the East this season.
One advantage the Quakes have: Kei Kamara is questionable for Saturday. If this is true, I would only expect to see Kei play for 45 minutes if he plays at all, rather than risk a more serious injury which could put in him out of the lineup for weeks.
Line-Up and Formation Predictions:
With Innocent out on injury and Tommy on national team duty, I’m expecting the same formation we used against Colorado: 4-1-4-1 with Jahn up top. I’m expecting Wondo, MPG, Shea, and Nyassi to start at mid, Fatai as DM, and the usual suspects for the back line: Stewart, Goodson, Bernardez, and Wynne. I would expect Koval on the bench with Barrera, Fucito, Renato, Meredith, Cato, and possibly Stephenson.
Final Score Prediction:
2-0 Crew. The Quakes offense has been dropping like a rock, and Columbus is a team out for blood. They are coming off a legit win against Seattle, and are hungry for their first win away from home. The Quakes, especially Dom Kinnear and other pundits, have done their best to look at the positives of the five-points-in-three-games road trip, but sooner or later, the stats will catch up, and I think the chickens will come home to roost on Saturday.
If Kamara does not play at all due to injury, 0-0 draw.
*All stats are accurate at time of publication and subject to change throughout the year.
Photo Credit: MegaSports News