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Oct 28, 2021 at 12.30am UK
Columbus CrewColumbus Crew
Orlando CityOrlando City
Berry (20'), Etienne (31'), Zelarayan (61')
Mensah (45'), Valenzuela (90+5')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Dike (52' pen.), Jansson (90+2')
Mendez (13'), Smith (57')

Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Major League Soccer clash between Columbus Crew and Orlando City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Playoff hopefuls Columbus Crew welcome Orlando City to the Lower.com Field on Thursday in search of a first win in three outings.

Like the home side, the visitors have not won any of their last two games but are on a five-game unbeaten run heading into the clash.

Match preview

Orlando City had to settle for a share of the spoils for the second game running following a 2-2 draw against league leaders New England Revolution on Monday.

Oscar Pareja's men raced to a two-goal lead thanks to Nani and Daryl Dike, but Adam Buksa scored twice in the final 10 minutes to leave honours even at the Exploria Stadium.

The Lions are fourth in the Eastern Conference as things stand with a four-point lead over the chasing pack in the race to secure a playoff berth.

Awaiting them next is a clash versus an opposing side who have lost each of the last six meetings between the teams dating back to 2018.

Thursday's visitors, who have scored 11 and conceded just four goals in that time, will be confident of coming away with all three points once again.

Columbus Crew suffered a first home defeat since August as they were beaten 2-1 by New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Caleb Porter's men fell behind to a Cristian Casseres strike early on but drew level in the 18th minute thanks to Miguel Berry before Sean Nealis netted three minutes from time to hand his side all three points.

The Black and Gold have now moved to within five points of the last playoff spot, and with just three matches left to play, there is little margin for error.

Thursday's hosts take on DC United in their penultimate regular season fixture on Sunday, while the away side face off against Nashville SC.

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Columbus Crew form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Orlando City Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Thirty-year-old Gyasi Zardes missed the hosts' last game, but the American forward is expected to be back in time to feature in this one.

Aidan Morris, Kevin Molino and Perry Kitchen are ruled out with knee injuries, while Artur continues to battle with a hernia problem.

Orlando City's Junior Urso scored the winner in the last edition of Thursday's fixture and will be looking to come up trumps once again.

With no fresh injury or suspension concerns, we expect head coach Pareja to name the same starting XI from last time out.

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Moreira, Mensah, Wormgoor, Valenzuela; Nagbe, Hairston, Zelarayan; Santos, Berry, Etienne

Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Gallese, Ruan, Carlos, Schlegel, Moutinho; Junior, Mendez, Pereyra; Nani, Dike, Mueller

We say: Columbus Crew 1-2 Orlando City

Orlando City have excelled in this fixture of late and are favourites to come out on top in this one. We are backing them to secure all three points, albeit by only a narrow margin.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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