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MLS Match Preview: Columbus Crew at Orlando City, September 16th, 2023

The Columbus Crew are taking on Orlando City in Orlando, Florida this Saturday in a match with playoff implications. This will be the third consecutive road contest for the Crew, who lost to the Houston Dynamo 2-0 before rebounding to beat FC Montréal 4-2 on September 2nd. The Crew dominated their last match from start to finish and twice held a three-goal lead in an emotional return to Montréal for Columbus coach Wilfried Nancy. Star forward Cucho Hernández scored a hat trick in the game.

Orlando City scored an impressive 1-0 road win over FC Cincinnati and is the hottest team in Major League Soccer north of Miami. Orlando City has a 6-1-1 record in regular season play since July 1 which has helped them climb up the rankings. Like Columbus, Orlando City hasn’t played since September 2nd due to a break for international play, so both teams will have fresh legs. This match will have a playoff feel as both teams enter the stretch run with seven games remaining.

FC Cincinnati sits in first place in the Eastern Conference with 57 points and is the presumptive Supports’ Shield winner. The New England Revolution are in second with 48 points followed by Orlando City with 47. The Philadelphia Union has 46 points with a game in hand, and the Crew rounds out the top five with 45, three points behind New England. The top four teams earn home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which expands to a best-of-three series in 2023, making this match critical for positioning.

This will be an exciting match but it’s only available on MLS Season Pass. If you’re in Columbus, Land Grant Brewing in Franklinton will have the match televised in the beer garden on the Jumbotron. Nordecke supporters will be watching at Seventh Son Brewing in Italian Village, and Endeavor Brewing & Spirts in Grandview has its own group of loyal fans.

The Crew have played poorly in the southern heat and humidity recently, so it’s hard to predict a positive result in this one. Orlando City wins 3-1, but the Crew have an opportunity to lick their wounds Wednesday, September 20th with a mid-week home match against the Chicago Fire.


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