Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (3-2-2, 11 points) and the Columbus Crew (2-2-2, 8 points) at Lower.com Field (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the two Eastern Conference rivals in 2022, with the Crew scheduled to visit Exploria Stadium on Oct. 9 for Decision Day.
Here’s what you need to know about the match.
The Lions are 6-6-3 in the all-time league series but just 1-4-1 on the road. Orlando City also has a home U.S. Open Cup win back in 2015 against the Crew for a 7-6-3 mark in all competitions.
The last meeting in the series took place on Oct. 27 in Columbus with the Crew winning 3-2. Columbus had lost five straight to Orlando prior to Lucas Zelarayan’s one-goal, two-assist performance. Miguel Berry and Derrick Etienne also scored for the Crew. Daryl Dike pulled a goal back from the spot and Robin Jansson struck late but it wasn’t enough.
The last meeting between the teams at Exploria Stadium was on Sept. 4, 2021, when the Lions won, 3-2. Orlando was cruising and built a 2-0 lead on goals by Dike and Silvester van der Water, but a bizarre own goal by Antonio Carlos threw the Crew a lifeline and a Berry equalizer turned the game around. Junior Urso provided the winner in the 69th minute.
City won the only meeting of 2020 when the 10-man Lions got a late Benji Michel goal to defeat the Crew 2-1 on Nov. 4. Chris Mueller gave Orlando the lead in that game but Harrison Afful was able to equalize just moments after referee Ramy Touchan had sent off Nani on a ludicrous call that was overturned by the MLS independent panel a few days later. Thanks to Michel’s goal, the officiating error didn’t end up costing the Lions, who clinched their first-ever MLS playoff spot with the win.
The Lions swept the season series in 2019, defeating the Crew 1-0 on a Michel goal on July 13, 2019, and two weeks previously getting their first road win in the series, 2-0. Nani assisted on goals by Mueller and Tesho Akindele in that one.
Orlando won 2-1 on Oct. 21, 2018 to start its five-game streak against the Crew on a pair of penalty kick goals. Yoshimar Yotún and Sacha Kljestan provided the spot kicks to offset Federico Higuain’s opening goal.
The last Crew win in the series prior to the Orlando winning streak was assisted by a horror call by Silviu Petrescu in the 88th minute on July 21, 2018, giving Columbus an equalizer from the penalty spot. Wil Trapp then scored the kind of goal in stoppage time that he’ll probably never score again to lift the Crew to a 3-2 victory in a game the Lions had stolen away from them on a call that Petrescu’s own organization said was an error.
In Kaká’s final game in purple, the teams met at the end of the 2017 season with Columbus winning 1-0 on Ola Kamara’s second-half goal. The teams drew 1-1 in Orlando on Aug. 19, 2017. Lalas Abubakar scored to put Columbus ahead in the 35th minute, but Giles Barnes equalized in the 67th. In the first meeting of 2017, Justin Meram scored both goals for the Crew in a 2-0 Columbus win.
The Lions were 0-1-1 against Columbus in 2016. The last meeting in Camping World Stadium saw the Crew beat down the Lions, 4-1. Ethan Finlay and Kamara (with a brace) powered the Crew, who also got a Seb Hines own goal, to more than offset Cyle Larin’s goal. The teams drew 2-2 in Ohio on July 23. Tony Tchani and Kamara (on a penalty kick in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage) put the Crew up, 2-0, while Kevin Molino and Larin led Orlando back for interim coach Bobby Murphy.
The first ever meeting in 2015 was marred by a Rafael Ramos red card as the Crew won in Columbus, 3-0. The teams drew 2-2 in May of that year and Orlando got its first league win against the Crew in a 5-2 demolition of Columbus that August.
Orlando City is coming off last Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire, which was a lot more dominant than the final score indicated. Ercan Kara opened his Orlando City account and should have had a second later in the match. The Lions are 1-0-2 on the road this season and easily could be 3-0-0 if not for a silly late penalty by Andres Perea at Portland and another wrongly disallowed goal at Chicago. But Columbus has been a difficult place for the Lions and the Crew are a desperate team.
Columbus is winless in its last three (0-2-1) and coming off back-to-back 1-0 losses at Philadelphia and home against Nashville. But the team has only allowed one goal in each of those three non-winning matches. The Crew are 2-1-0 at home overall and have conceded just twice in those three games. The Columbus offense wasn’t always as cold as it’s been in the last three games, in which it has only scored one goal. The Crew started the season hot, with nine goals in their first three matches.
The 2020 MLS Cup winners are a desperate and dangerous squad, and unlike in 2021, the team is mostly healthy. The key to the Crew is the midfield, which is quite good. Darlington Nagbe is a ball winner who is difficult to dispossess because he reads the play and gets rid of the ball quickly. His central midfield partner Artur has also been a successful player for Columbus and together they do well to shield a solid back line that features former MLS Defender of the Year Jonathan Mensah and standout goalkeeper Eloy Room. On the attacking side, Zelarayan is one of the league’s most gifted players with the ball and on set pieces. Zelarayan, Etienne, and newcomer Yaw Yeboah make a formidable attacking line behind either Berry or Gyasi Zardes.
“They’re a good team who have very good players that have a lot of talent and a team who has invested as well,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of the Crew in his pre-match press conference. “We’re optimistic, getting our boys ready, understanding that it’ll be a great game to measure ourselves as we did when we went to LA and Portland. The boys have had a good week after three points against Chicago, trying to improve our finishing as we’ve spoken about and we’ll continue to try to be precise to get good results.”
Orlando City will be without Antonio Carlos (hamstring), but no other Lions are on the availability report. Van der Water should return to the lineup after missing last week for the birth of his son. Former Lion Molino (knee) is the only Crew player listed as out, with Luis Diaz (back) listed as questionable.
Mandatory Match Content
Here's your mandatory match content to prepare you for the game:
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about Columbus with the help of Thomas Costello from SBNation’s Crew SC blog, Massive Report.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, along with a Crew scouting report from special guest Miguel Gallardo.
- Our David Rohe gave his three keys to victory for Orlando City in Columbus.
- Josh Munsey provided a scouting report on the Crew.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Benji Michel, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Ruan, Michael Halliday, Thomas Williams, Andres Perea, Sebas Mendez, Silvester van der Water, Tesho Akindele, Alexandre Pato.
Columbus Crew (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Eloy Room.
Defenders: Pedro Santos, Milos Degenek, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira.
Defensive Midfielders: Darlington Nagbe, Artur.
Attacking Midfielders: Derrick Etienne, Lucas Zelarayan, Yaw Yeboah.
Forward: Miguel Berry.
Bench: Evan Bush, Jalil Anibaba, William Sands, Josh Williams, Marlon Hairston, Aidan Morris, Alexandru Matan, James Igbekeme, Gyasi Zardes.
Ref: Drew Fischer.
AR1: Kathryn Nesbitt.
AR2: Brooke Mayo.
4th: Chris Ruska.
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero.
AVAR: Claudiu Badea.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Lower.com Stadium — Columbus, OH.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) or on the LionNation app.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the match. Go City!
The Mane Land has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though The Mane Land and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles.