MX23RW : Friday, December 3 20:10:02| >> :600:2436988:2436988:
Oct 16, 2021 at 11pm UK at Columbus Crew Stadium
Columbus CrewColumbus Crew
4-0
Inter MiamiInter Miami
Zardes (39', 65'), Santos (44'), Gonzalez Pirez (83' og.)
Wormgoor (57')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Higuain (16'), Leerdam (68'), Makoun (76'), Carranza (90+1')

Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Inter Miami - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Columbus Crew and Inter Miami, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Inter Miami have the opportunity to leapfrog Saturday's hosts, Columbus Crew, if Phil Neville's side collect three points when they travel to Lower.com Field.

Columbus currently sit 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points behind CF Montreal, New York City FC and DC United, who have all claimed 40 points and occupy the final playoff positions.


Match preview

Columbus Crew forward Pedro Santos (7) grabs the ball from the goal after scoring against Atlanta United in the second half at Lower.com Stadium on August 8, 2021© Reuters

Caleb Porter's side returned to MLS action last time out, after winning the Campeones Cup at the end of September courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Mexican outfit Cruz Azul.

However, Columbus Crew did not carry on their winning momentum three days later when they travelled to face Philadelphia Union, who were comfortable 3-0 winners over their visitors.

That defeat ended a run of four games in all competitions which Crew remained unbeaten, but the defeat perhaps did not come as a surprise, having only won twice away from Lumen.com Field this season.

Including Saturday's encounter, both of these sides only have six Eastern Conference matches left to break into the top seven, suggesting that Columbus or Inter Miami will have to string together an unbeaten run at the end of this season to make up the points gap.

Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville helps D.C. United midfielder Kevin Paredes (30) to get up on June 9, 2021© Reuters

Neville's side will be looking for a quick change in fortunes, having lost their last five consecutive games, and that form has seen their playoff hopes starting to diminish.

Miami are eight points off seventh spot, and Saturday's clash against Columbus feels as though it is a must-win match for Neville's team, as a defeat this weekend and victories for Montreal, New York City and DC United will leave Miami 11 points adrift of the playoffs.

A worry for Neville is that his side have only scored once in their run of five defeats, and have not found the back of the net at least twice in a single game since August.

That leaves Inter Miami as the lowest scorers in the Eastern Conference, but Columbus have shown defensive frailties this season, in particular in their last outing against Philadelphia.

Miami will take confidence from their last meeting with Columbus just over one month ago, when Gonzalo Higuain's 16th-minute goal was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Inter Miami at the Lockhart Stadium.

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

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

Inter Miami Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L



Team News

Columbus Crew midfielder Luis Diaz (12) is stretchered off the field after being fouled by Atlanta United in the second half at Lower.com Field on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Columbus midfielder Perry Kitchen is nearing a return to action, having been sidelined since July with ligament damage, but Saturday's encounter is likely to have come too early for the 29-year-old.

Many other players are also unavailable this weekend and for the near future, including Aidan Morris, Artur, Harrison Afful and Kevin Molino.

Attacking midfielder Pedro Santos scored and assisted 12 goals last season, but this year he has only managed two goals in the MLS, and he failed to make that three last time out when he missed a penalty, but he will be looking to bounce back this weekend and is certain to start.

Ian Fray, Joevin Jones, Ryan Shawcross, Ventura Alvarado and Victor Ulloa are all going to be absent from Inter Miami's squad this weekend as they recover from injury, and Neville is unlikely to name the same defensive trio which started against New York Red Bulls last time out.

Neville has not named the same back three in any of their last five games, and Christian Makoun could come back into the starting lineup in place of Kelvin Leerdam.

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Bush; Keita, Williams, Mensah; Valenzuela, Hairston, Nagbe, Moreira; Zelarayan, Santos; Zardes

Inter Miami possible starting lineup:
Marsman; Pirez, Mabika, Makoun; Shea, Chapman, Gregore, Pizarro, Morgan; Higuain, Robinson


SM words green background

We say: Columbus Crew 2-0 Inter Miami

Despite a heavy defeat last time out, Columbus will be pleased to be back on home soil this weekend, and they will want to take advantage of Inter Miami's poor form.

Neville's team did not offer much in the attacking third last time out to suggest that their fortunes in front of goal will change anytime soon, and Columbus have scored at least two goals in each of their last four home games.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Columbus Crew vs Inter Miami

Columbus Crew
75.0%
Draw
3.6%
Inter Miami
21.4%
28
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New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates a goal by forward Santiago Rodriguez (not pictured) against Toronto FC with defender Malte Amundsen (12) and forward Thiago (8) during the first half at BMO Field on August 7, 2021
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

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