Preview: Columbus Crew SC vs Nashville SC

After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Salt Lake and a week off for the international break, the Coyotes are back. Tonight, they face off against Columbus Crew SC at Lower.com Field. Can Nashville get back on track after two straight losses? Will Columbus continue their unbeaten streak?

Columbus Crew SC

Current standing: 2nd (East) | 2-2-0 | +5 GD
Essential Reading: Zoomed N on Columbus Crew with Patrick Murphy

Injuries

OUT:Kevin Molino (knee), Kevin Parante (illness)
QUESTIONABLE: Josh Williams (thigh), Lucas Zelarayán (knee)

After a disappointing 2021 Season, plagued with injuries, Columbus Crew SC have bounced back to start the 2022 season.

Caleb Porter has exclusively deployed the 4-2-3-1 formation this season, but may need to make some adjustments against Nashville. Lucas Zelarayán picked up a knock against the Red Bulls and is listed as questionable coming in to tonight’s match. If he is unavailable, Porter may be forced to change the formation.

With four goals and one assist, Lucas Zelarayán is the Crew’s most important player and one of the league’s most dangerous. A number 10 who has the ability to find space and get shots off from distance, his ability to play a quick ball into the forward has hugely benefited Miguel Berry.

In addition to Zelarayán, Nashville will have to keep a close eye on Derrick Etienne out on the right wing. With two goals to start the season, his ability to beat his man out and also get in the box to score goals makes him a key threat against Nashville.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 12th (West) | 1-1-2 | -2 GD

Injuries

OUT: M Koze Donasiyano (thigh), Robert Castellanos (ankle surgery), Dax McCarty (Suspended), Teal Bunbury (knee)

The International Break could not have come at a better time for the Boys in Gold. They registered two straight losses for the first time since the 2020 season and will be looking to avoid making it three losses in a row.

Gary Smith returned to the 3-4-1-2 formation against Real Salt Lake and with the suspension of Dax McCarty, it’s almost certain that the lineup against Columbus with the same formation. Fortunately for Nashville, both Walker Zimmerman and Aníbal Godoy have returned from international duty fit and injury free, but could be rested after both playing all three games in last week’s window.

We saw Eric Miller drop back as the third center back against Real Salt Lake but against Columbus I expect to see Miller move back to right wingback and allow Jack Maher to return as the right-sided center back. Maher will slot with Walker Zimmerman and Davey Romney. Daniel Lovitz will be at left wingback and tasked with keeping Derrick Etienne in check.

The center of the pitch picks itself, with Aníbal Godoy and Sean Davis continuing their partnership together. If the Panama captain needs a rest after international duty, Brian Anunga could always get his first start of the season next to Davis. If Zelarayán is fit, they will need to control the midfield and cut off the balls to his feet. Keeping him off the ball will be key to Nashville getting a result.

So far this season, the attack has been kept quiet and limited to just one goal and two assists between the attacking trio of C.J. Sapong, Hany Mukhtar, and Randall Leal. Sapong, who was benched against Salt Lake, will return against Columbus and the hope is that they can recapture their form together from last season.

The ‘Yotes will need to find an attacking spark if they want to come away with another result on the road.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Columbus 1 – 1 Nashville
Scores: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar scores a penalty

Jonathan Slape

Score: Columbus 1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Randall Leal, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville gets two first half goals but gives up one in the second half.

Ben Wright

Score: Columbus 2 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Aké Loba
MOTM: Sean Davis
Bold Prediction: Loba comes on for the final 10 minutes and scores on the counter.

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Columbus Crew SC vs Nashville SC
Odds: Columbus (+100), Draw (+210), Nashville (+300) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, April 2
Time: 5:00 PM Central, Lower.com Field, Columbus, ohio
TV: MyTV30 (in market), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 53°/27°. Sunny. 2% chance of rain. 85% humidity

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