FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew: Road Woes to Continue

Will Chace
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew: Road Woes to Continue

FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew will battle it out on Saturday for a place in the esteemed MLS Cup. FC Cincinnati will hope to earn their spot after a historic season, in which they have also won the Supporter’s Shield. Columbus has had a streak of disappointing defensive performances when traveling on the road. Continue reading to access an expert FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew prediction and explore the latest news on the 2023 MLS Cup playoffs.

  • FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew, MLS Cup Conference Finals
  • December 2, 2023
  • 6 PM EST
  • TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+

FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew Betting Odds

While odds are not currently available at the time of writing, expect FC Cincinnati to be the favorites in this match. They are the higher-seeded team with home field advantage and are coming off a regular-time win against the Philadelphia Union. The Columbus Crew needed extra time to knock off Orlando City and earn their spot in the MLS Eastern Conference Finals. A draw will be around (+250), a number suggesting that a tie after 90 minutes occurs around 25% of the time, or 1 in every 4 games. 

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To better understand the 3-way moneyline (1X2) market, see our soccer betting tips and learn about MLS playoffs odds.

2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Format

The 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs mirror the FIFA World Cup format after the initial round. Each match lasts for 90 minutes plus stoppage time, with the potential for two 15-minute extra time periods before a possible penalty shootout. The previous double-leg ties have been replaced by a winner-takes-all setup, favoring the higher seed's home advantage throughout the tournament until the Final.

Success in these playoffs depends on a solid defense, a strong record on home turf, and an attack proficient in consistent goal-scoring. The MLS Cup is known for luck playing a significant role, consequently condensing an entire season into critical showdowns. While teams vary in finishing abilities, a barrage of shots often has the power to sway the game's fortunes in this fiercely competitive tournament.

Drama in Cincinnati to Repeat Itself?

FC Cincinnati broke the scoreless deadlock after more than 90 minutes, courtesy of center back Yerson Mosquera. Álvaro Barreal initiated the move by advancing down the field and locating Ian Murphy in the box. Following a Murphy heade, an unmarked Mosquera calmly took a touch before slotting the ball into the back of the net. The defender’s goal became his third for FC Cincinnati and stood as the latest regulation game-winning goal in the club's history.

FC Cincinnati boasts an impressive 7-3-4 record in win-or-go-home matches, with a notable 6-2-3 under head coach Pat Noonan. Furthermore, they've joined an elite group as just the eighth MLS team ever to secure at least 26 victories across all competitions in a single season.

FC Cincinnati To Defeat Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew May Not Be What They Appear to Be

The Columbus Crew, visiting Orlando City, secured a 2-0 victory after Orlando City dropped down a man in the 77th minute. The win pushed them to the Conference Final, and showcased the classic offense vs defense debate. The regular season's top-scoring team in MLS, the Crew, who netted 67 goals, faced off against a defense tied for the fifth-best in Orlando City, conceding only 39 goals.

Christian Ramirez, stepping in at the beginning of the 30-minute overtime, made a crucial slide to the goal line. He connected with Aidan Morris' cross in the 93rd minute, ultimately breaking Orlando's six-match winning streak. Then, in the 118th minute, Hernández capitalized on Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese's venture toward the midfield in an attempt to bolster the attack. Seizing the opportunity, Hernández lofted a shot from the center circle, netting his fourth playoff goal. 

Don’t let the last result for Columbus fool you: the victory was Columbus’s first postseason win on the road since 2002. So despite the strides Columbus has made under first-year coach Wilfried Nancy, their away games continue to showcase defensive vulnerabilities. In MLS regular season and playoff matches, the Crew have allowed multiple goals in 10 out of 18 total away games. Specifically focusing on playoff-bound teams, this ratio increases to six out of 10 games.

Columbus Crew To Defeat FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew Prediction and Free Betting Pick

Conversely, Columbus’s offensive attack is quite lethal. This makes me wary of backing FC Cincinnati in the 3-way, asian handicap, or draw no bet market. I don’t see as much value in taking them to win if they cannot score multiple goals. 

Therefore, I will look at their team total market when it becomes available. A play on their over 1.5 should be near the 50% implied mark. Without knowing the exact number, I emphasize staying conservative unless you can get your hands on a really good line. Nevertheless, trust in Cincy to light up the scoreboard at least twice.

Over 1.5 FC Cincinnati Total Goals

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Meet the author

Will Chace

From Boston, Will's passion for sports is more of a hereditary characteristic than a learned hobby. Besides rooting for his hometown teams, he follows MMA heavily and will consume just about any sports-related content. In college, Will combined his passion for sports an...

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