Orlando City vs Columbus Crew MLS Game Preview, Betting Picks, Predictions: Should Bettors Ignore Goal Stats?

Facundo TorresAn in-form Orlando City team will be back in action on Saturday (7.30pm ET). In front of a home crowd at Exploria Stadium, the Lions will host a Columbus Crew side that also comes off the back of a win last time out. Can either side extend their winning run? This preview, with its betting picks and predictions, aims to work it out.

Since crashing out of the Leagues Cup at the hands of a Lionel Messi inspired Inter Miami team, things could hardly have gone better for Orlando City. Óscar Pareja’s men returned to Major League Soccer with a win on the road in Chicago, scoring three goals in the process, before kicking on, beating St. Louis City in front of a home crowd, again scoring multiple goals. They then tied with Charlotte, which was far from a disaster away from home. It was back to winning ways for Orlando last time out, spurred on by their in-form forward Facundo Torres, who has now scored four goals in four games since MLS resumed.

Columbus Crew have also enjoyed themselves since leaving the Leagues Cup campaign behind. They too picked up a win in the first game back in MLS, beating Cincinnati in rather convincing fashion, scoring three and conceding none. They built on that pleasing effort to pick up another solid victory, this time against Toronto FC on home soil, again keeping a clean sheet in the process. That victory was followed by defeat in Houston, where their efforts weren’t great. The team that currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference bounced back at the first time of asking with a 0-1 win in Cincinnati last time out, which should leave them feeling upbeat ahead of this tough assignment

Exploria Stadium a fortress

In recent times, Saturday’s hosts have positioned themselves very nicely inside the playoff places, and that is largely because over the last few months, they have turned Exploria Stadium into a real fortress. OCSC have won each of their last three home games in Major League Soccer, while they are now unbeaten in fewer than eight home league fixtures, which takes some doing, especially in the crazy world of MLS.

Not only have the hosts become accustomed to picking up positive results at home, losing none of their last eight, five of which they’ve won, but they’ve started to get used to scoring plenty of goals on home soil. Pareja’s men scored twice in their most recent home game, which was the fifth home league game in a row where they scored at least two goals. Since scoring twice on their way to beating the Colorado Rapids at home back in June, the Lions have netted 11 goals in four home games in Major League Soccer. Beware any team that visits Exploria Stadium.

Goals on the road

Columbus Crew are by no means easy to face on their travels, but one thing seems for sure, the goals are going in at one end or another, usually at both. There really has been no shortage of goals scored in the Crew’s away games in Major League Soccer this time around.

Last time out, they excelled offensively, as dynamic Colombian forward Cucho whirred into action, scoring a hat-trick, but they failed to keep things tight at the back, and not for the first time, shipping two goals on their way to winning.

For all the Crew can score plenty away from home, notching in all but one of their last eight traveling games, they struggle to keep teams at bay, conceding in all of those eight, giving away two or more in five of them.

Goals usually on the menu

When Orlando City and the Columbus Crew clash in Major League Soccer, there is usually no shortage of goals. When the pair last met, back in May of this year, they tied 2-2 in Columbus. Prior to that, Saturday’s hosts won 2-1 at this venue. Interestingly, less than three goals have been scored in just one of the last five renewals of this fixture, while both teams have scored in four of those five too. The Crew are now without a win in three against Orlando City, while they have not won at this venue since 2017.

Bet on goals at Exploria Stadium

Whichever way this preview frames this one, goals seem likely. To be honest, even at relatively short odds of +136, ‘Over 3.5 Goals’ stands out as a viable option.

Both teams have scored lots of goals in their recent home and away games, while the visitors can hardly avoid high-scoring games on their travels. Four or more goals have been scored in four of the Crew’s last five road games, while at least four goals have been scored in three of Orlando’ last five at home. Throw in that both teams have a habit of scoring multiple goals and a high-scoring game isn’t hard to side with.

In addition, these are two squads with forwards in hot form right now. As touched on above, Facundo Torres has really got going of late, scoring four in his last four. The visitors have Cucho, who arrives here off the back of scoring a hat-trick in his last away game, while he also has nine goals and ten assists in just 20 MLS appearances this season. So it’s fair to say the visitors always carry a serious threat, as do the hosts, who are not all about Torres. Luciano Acosta offers an abundance of both creativity and scoring touch. The Argentine has scored 13 and assisted ten so far this season. There is plenty of offensive talent on show here. Make that pay at the American serving sports gambling outlets by siding with over 3.5 goals. So for the OCSC vs Colombus Crew predictions and picks for this preview, we are on this one: