Columbus vs. Philadelphia Prediction, Preview and Odds - 4/18/21
Columbus Crew are the reigning MLS Cup champions and with most of the same roster returning with key additions, have an excellent opportunity to repeat as champions. Last season Columbus Crew finished 12-6-5 on 41 points. During the regular regular season, Columbus was third in the Eastern Conference but defeated Seattle 3-0 in the MLS Cup Final to win the title. Columbus added to its depth during the off-season, will be playing in a brand new stadium as of July 3 and all those add up to the possibility of another deep run in both the MLS Cup and Concacaf Champions League.
Philadelphia Union finished first in the Eastern Conference regular season last year at 14-4-5 on 44 points with a +24 goal difference. However, Philadelphia was eliminated in the first round of the MLS Cup by the New England Revolution 2-0. Philadelphia used a talented roster of young players but lost two players Mark McKenzie and Brendan Aronson in transfers to Europe but that gave them a large stash of cash to use acquiring new talent
Columbus Crew ready to repeat
Key parts of the club returning from last season include Lucas Zelarayan, who was named the MVP of the MLS Cup last season with two goals and five assists during four playoff matches. Darlington Nagbe is one of the best passers in the MLS and is able to set the tempo for the club. Gyasi Zardes is consistent and reliable in the Columbus attack and always near the top in the race for the League's Golden Boot. One of the younger players to take a look at for Columbus is Aidan Morris, who is the youngest ever starter in the MLS Cup but played an excellent 90 minutes and will be one of the key members of the Crew this season.
The acquisitions during the off-season for Columbus Crew include Kevin Molino, who scored nine goals and added four assists last season while scoring four goals during the postseason for Minnesota United. Molino is expected to be in the first XI opposite Pedro Santos. Another key addition was Bradley Wright-Phillips who is sixth in all-time scoring in the MLS and last season scored eight goals and added six assists. Wright-Phillips is expected to be a backup at the center-forward spot, attesting to the depth of Columbus.
Young Guns Look to Return to the MLS Cup
The young roster for the Philadelphia Union looks to prove that last season was not a fluke and wants to start off with an upset victory on Sunday over defending MLS Champions Columbus. The top players returning from last season include Jamiro Monteiro, who has been with the club since 2019 and fits in well with the high-energy system at Philadelphia. Andre Blake was the goalkeeper of the Year in the MLS in 2020. Blake could miss a few matches in the MLS when playing with the national team of Jamaica this summer during World Cup qualification.
Goal scoring for Kacper Przybylko dropped in 2020 following a breakout year of 2019 but the striker remains the talisman for Philadelphia and is a key cog for the Union. A young gun to watch is Jack De Vries, who is just 19 but is expected to see plenty of minutes as the club's fourth forward. Additions during the off-season include Stuart Findlay, who was picked up from Kilmarnock FC. The center back will add strength to the Philadelphia backline. Leon Flach Shyne from Germany’s FC St. Pauli will fit in as a central midfielder but also is able to play fullback making him an all-around valuable asset.
Full game pick
Columbus Crew -111
Columbus Crew has too much depth for Philadelphia Union and will be playing on his home pitch to open the season on Sunday. The crew added the likes of Kevin Molino, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Alexandru Matan, to join Gyasi Zardes, Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe giving Columbus a strong attack and one of the best midfields in the MLS. Columbus will be a high-scoring XI and make life difficult for every opponent. The defending MLS Cup champions will be too much to handle even though Philadelphia Union will have the 2020 MLS goalkeeper of the year Andre Blake in net.
Full game total prediction: Your Over/Under prediction
Full game total prediction analysis:
Although Columbus Crew has a potent attack in the front third and will send its wingers and strikers into the box each time down the pitch, Philadelphia Union will have Andre Blake in goal and a strong backline to keep the Crew from scoring on a regular basis. Philadelphia will also drop back its midfielders, wings and strikers to help on defense making it difficult for Columbus to take open shots.