Preview: Columbus Crew vs Nashville SC

Nashville SC continue a hectic slate of games before the Leagues Cup break, heading to Columbus to take on the fourth-place Crew. Can the Coyotes bounce back after a disappointing loss to Miami last weekend?

Match info

Teams: Columbus Crew vs Nashville SC
Referees: Joe Dickerson (Ref), Kevin Klinger (AR1), Kali Smith (AR2), Pierre-Luc Lauziere (Fourth), Jose Carlos Rivero (VAR), Mike Kampmeinert (AVAR)
Odds: CLB (-220), Draw (+350), NSH (+475)
Date: Wednesday, July 3, 2024
Time: 5:30 pm CT, Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio United States
TV: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Commentary: Steve Cangialosi & Danny Higginbotham (English), Jorge Perez-Navarro & Marcelo Balboa (Spanish)
Radio: 104.5 The Zone
Radio Commentary: Lucas Panzica & Will Boling
Forecast: 91°/73°. 87º at kickoff. Mostly cloudy. 50% chance of rain. 63% humidity. 13-25 mph wind.

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Head to head

Matches: 8
Columbus wins: 3
Draws: 3
Nashville wins: 2

Columbus Crew

4th (East) | 33 points | 9W-6D-3L | +16 GD |
Last match: 5-1 win at New England Revolution
Power Rankings: 4th

Availability Report

OUT: Evan Bush (arm)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Jacen Russell-Rowe 🇨🇦

Spoiler alter: The Crew are really, really, really good. The reigning MLS Cup Champions made a deep run in the Concacaf Champions Cup, falling to Pachuca in the final. Unlike previous MLS clubs who’ve made it to the final, though, the Crew did so without completely falling off in league play; they lost just two matches during their CCC run.

Now that they’re fully focused on MLS, they’re rolling. They’ve one six of their last seven matches, with their only loss coming on the road to Inter Miami in a match that saw the Crew create enough chances to win nine out of 10 times. Their latest match was dominant, rolling over New England Revolution on the road 5-1.

Wilfried Nancy continues to establish himself as the best coach in MLS today, and probably the best tactician the league has ever seen. With Aidan Morris moving to English Championship side Middlesbrough, Nancy has slotted versatile Sean Zawadski into center midfield with little drop off.

The Crew boast one of, maybe the, most dangerous frontlines in the league. Cucho Hernández and Deigo Rossi are Best XI-caliber attackers, while Christian Ramirez is a proven No. 9 in MLS and very adept at pulling defenders out of position to open up space underneath.

Max Arfsten has been arguably the Crew’s story of the season. The San Jose Earthquakes academy product was selected in last year’s SuperDraft, and after playing sporadically he’s taken over Nancy’s left wingback spot emphatically. He’s scored three goals already in MLS, fully capable of beating defenders for pace down the left or cutting inside to shoot on his right foot. He’s left footed, not that you could tell here:

Oh, yeah, and the Crew just traded for Aziel Jackson from St. Louis City SC. He won’t be available until the transfer window opens on July 18, but this team is good and getting better. Watch out.

Nashville SC

7th (East) | 26 points | 6W-8D-6L | -1 GD |
Last match: 2-1 loss vs Inter Miami CF
Power Rankings: 17th

Availability Report

OUT: Julian Gaines (ankle), Anibal Godoy (lower body), Randall Leal (hip), Lukas MacNaughton (ankle)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Shaq Moore 🇺🇸 Jacob Shaffleburg 🇨🇦

Forward Sam Surridge, who has played mostly as a left-winger in the last three matches, was initially listed as questionable with a lower body injury (along with Brent Kallman) before being removed from the report. It’s not clear what his status is, but with two road trips this week it’s fair to expect some rotation.

Forster Ajago has impressed in his cameo appearances off the bench, and interim head coach Rumba Munthali mentioned he could be in line for more minutes during a packed slate of matches. He could factor into the linuep, or Munthali could slot in Alex Muyl.

Nashville have historically played Columbus close in their past meetings, never allowing more than two goals. However, this Crew side more than any in the league are able to impose their will onto other teams and manipulate space. This will be a challenging match for Nashville, although they’ll have space to exploit on the counter.

Pre-match quotes

Pod Picks

Ben Wright

Score: Columbus 3 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Tyler Boyd
Man of the match: Tyler Boyd
Bold prediction: Nashville score a late second half consolation goal after a poor start.

Chris Ivey

Score: Columbus 3 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Sam Surridge
Man of the match: Sam Surridge
Bold prediction: Nashville allow eight or more shots on target.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Columbus 2 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
Man of the match: Hany Mukhtar
Bold prediction: Cucho scores a late winner.

Ronan Briscoe

Score: Columbus 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Tyler Boyd
Man of the matchShaq Moore comes back, plays a full 90, and helps Nashville scrape a draw they probably don’t deserve in the run of play.

Fan Forecast

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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