The reigning MLS champions have lost their last two regular-season matches, while the Five Stripes erased a two-goal deficit on Wednesday, drawing CF Montreal 2-2.
All year long, Columbus have been hot and cold, and at the moment, they are ice-cold, losing back-to-back fixtures for only the second time this season as they are clinging to the last playoff spot in the East with 24 points.
On Wednesday, they dug themselves an early deficit for the second straight game, conceding three goals in the opening half, eventually falling 4-2 to DC United.
Defensively, Caleb Porter has a problem on his hands, as his team have conceded eight goals in their last two fixtures after posting successive clean sheets.
The Crew are struggling to settle into their new stadium at Lower.com Field, where they have won only one of their four matches so far while conceding seven goals.
Eight times this year, Columbus have conceded the opening goal and been forced to fight their way back into a match, and to their credit, they came back from two two-goal deficits in July to draw FC Cincinnati and the New England Revolution.
Speaking of fighting back, that is something that we saw the Five Stripes do on Wednesday after trailing 2-0 to CF Montreal, but once again, it was not enough to earn three points.
Since the dismissal of Gabriel Heinze in mid-July, Atlanta have shown a lot more fight and determination, but they do not have the results to back up their play, going winless in their last four games.
Coming from behind is not something that this team have often done successfully, in fact, their draw on Wednesday was the first time that they erased a two-goal deficit and earned a result since a match with the San Jose Earthquakes in September 2018.
Their winless run is now at a dozen games, and there does not seem to be a clear sign that they can stop this bleeding anytime soon.
The Five Stripes lead the league in draws with nine so far, but seeing as they sit nine points back of the Crew for the final playoff spot, these draws are unlikely to do them any good in the table.
The Crew will be missing Aidan Morris, who has a left knee injury, Artur has a right hip problem, Milton Valenzuela is out with a right thigh injury, Vito Wormgoor is questionable with the same problem, Perry Kitchen is out with a left knee injury and Josh Williams is doubtful with a left ankle issue.
Josef Martinez scored his fourth goal of the season earlier this week, but he will not get a chance to add to that this weekend after being red-carded late against Montreal.
Marcelino Moreno scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season in their last fixture, Ezequiel Barco earned his second assist of this campaign, and Brad Guzan started for the first time since returning from the Gold Cup with the United States.
Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Lillard, Jonathan, Keita, Afful; Hairston, Fraser, Nagbe, Zelarayan; Molino, Etienne
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Guzan; Walkes, DeJohn, Franco, Ambrose; Bello, Sosa, Rossetto, Damm; Barco, Moreno
We say: Columbus Crew 2-1 Atlanta United
The Crew have been struggling to keep the ball out of their goal lately, but they know what it takes to get themselves out of their current predicament, so given how close they are to missing the post-season, expect to see them come out very determined on Saturday.
Atlanta have shown a lot more resolve since the dismissal of Heinze, but they cannot seem to do enough to earn a victory no matter how hard they try.