Orlando City’s push for supremacy in the east continues at home on Sunday evening (7:30pm ET). Columbus Crew, who are fighting for the same thing at their hosts, are the visitors at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando were unable to come out on top last time out, as they drew 0-0 away against Atlanta, but there were certainly positives to be taken from their performance, such as a clean sheet. Despite not picking up maximum points when last in action, Óscar Pareja’s men have continued to assert themselves as one of the top teams in the east in recent times. They are now without a defeat in ten regular season matches, five of which they’ve won. It might make them hard to get away from when we come to our concluding Orlando City vs Columbus Crew predictions and betting picks for this preview.
Home is where the heart is
Things have been going well for Orlando all round, but where they are particularly effective is on their own turf. The Lions are unbeaten at home since the regular season came back, four of which they’ve won. Recent wins against both Chicago and New York Red Bulls bode well ahead of this matchup, as does the fact the hosts have notched no less than nine goals in their last three at home.
At times the defence has wobbled, as no clean sheets in five games at home demonstrates. However, Orlando are certainly no pushovers at the back, as they’ve yet to concede more than a single goal at Exploria Stadium since the season got back under way.
Visitors on the slide
While Orlando have been in fine form of late, Columbus have gone off the boil slightly. The Crew, who are a point above Orlando, remain just three points off top spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are now without a win in three matches. Last time out, Caleb Porter’s men were beaten at home by Montreal. It was a bitterly disappointing loss, especially as they went into the game as -200 favorites on the USA sports betting lines at the sportsbooks. On the face of it, they were unlucky to lose that game, but a drop in performance levels has certainly been evident of late.
Problems at the back are starting to creep into Columbus’ game. The team with the second-best defensive record in the east have gone from conceding just three goals in five matches to shipping seven in three. The leak will need to be repaired before this Sunday MLS game, that’s for sure.
Orlando with the upper hand
Recent renewals of this fixture have swung the way of Orlando, who have won each of their last three against Columbus. When the pair met at this venue back in 2019, the hosts won by a goal to nil. The last three meetings have served up a total of six goals, five of which have been scored by Orlando. It’s fair to say that recent history isn’t exactly on the side of Columbus ahead of this fixture, though we probably shouldn’t read too much into that.
Where’s the money going?
Orlando come into this fixture as favorites, around the +135 mark, while the visitors currently stand at +195. Given the recent form of both, a home win is easy to back. In fact, Orlando have been so good that they probably warrant shorter odds, so anyone who does fancy the hosts to make it four home wins on the bounce certainly won’t be getting a rough deal by taking +135.
Underlying numbers support a home win
Not only have Orlando been winning games but they’ve generally deserved to. On average, they have created more than they’ve allowed their opponents. Since the return of soccer in the US, The Lions have bettered their opponents in terms of expected goals in seven out of nine where they’ve been the home side. Since the regular season returned, they’re averaging a pleasing 1.84 expected goals for on their own patch. In contrast, Columbus average just 1.04 expected goals for on the road. Moreover, the visitors have only bettered their opponents from a chance creation point of view in one of their last five travelling matches. Such a stat does not bode well ahead of Sunday’s trip to Exploria Stadium.
At the end of the day, Columbus Crew are far from a poor team, but their recent efforts, combined with a rather unflattering away record – no wins in five on the road, make them hard to support on this occasion. On the flipside, Orlando have looked in imperious form at home and are well worth siding with. So for the Orlando vs Columbus Crew predictions, this is the sole piece of betting picks’ advice for this preview:
- Bet on Orlando City on the moneyline @ best odds of +135 with BetOnline.