What: Orlando City vs Columbus Crew – Eastern Conference Semifinals
Where: Exploria Stadium
When: Saturday, November 25th, 5:30 PM ET
We’re officially down to four teams on each side in the MLS Cup Playoffs and all the conference semifinals will happen this weekend. Over in the East, #2 seed Orlando City SC will host #3 seed Columbus Crew at Exploria Stadium on Saturday, with a spot in the conference finals on the line. Orlando beat Nashville in the last round by 1-0 scorelines in the best-of-3 series to progress. Columbus meanwhile outlasted Atlanta United in three games, taking them out by a score of 4-2 in the series decider. This should be a very entertaining clash. Keep reading for the Orlando City vs Columbus Crew picks.
Before we get into the odds, match preview, and picks, check out our MLS betting page if you plan to put money down on this game.
Orlando is a slim favorite, but not by much. They sit at +120 odds for an implied win probability of 45.45%. Columbus comes back at +200 and has a 33.33% chance of coming out victorious here. Orlando has won three of the last four meetings with the Crew, which is certainly a positive sign for them.
Orlando Looking to Make First East Finals
While Orlando has only been around since 2015, they’ve had minimal playoff success. Their best season was in 2022, making this exact same stage before bowing out. The Lions’ other two playoff appearances saw them exit in the first round. A positive result Saturday would send the side through to their first-ever conference final.
Orlando had a very impressive regular season, compiling an 18-7-9 record, finishing just five points behind first-place FC Cincinnati. They’re a very solid club on both ends of the pitch, scoring 55 goals in 2023 while conceding just 39 in 34 games. Facundo Torres is the leading man up top, bagging 14 goals and supplying three assists. Duncan McGuire also had quite the campaign, netting 13 and setting up another three. Neither player scored in the opening round though, with Wilder Cartagena and Ivan Angulo producing the goods.
Oscar Pareja’s men don’t score a ton of goals but they’re a cohesive unit who really play together as one. Orlando also tends to perform rather well on home soil, going 9-3-5 during the season at Exploria Stadium. It’s win or go home for the Lions here and as we saw in their last meeting with Columbus that ended 4-3 in favor of Orlando, it won’t be an easy one on Saturday.
Columbus Poor on The Road
The Crew hammered Atlanta 4-2 and 2-0 in both games at home in the first round but lost on the road. That seems to be a common occurrence for Columbus, who barely lost in front of their supporters but stunk up the joint away from home. The question is, can they get it done on the road in their most important game of the year?
Columbus is undoubtedly known for their lethal ways in front of goal. The side scored the most goals in the MLS this season (67) and had numerous players do their part in the final third. Cucho Hernandez bagged 19 and tallied seven assists. Christian Ramirez also hit the back of the net eight times. Five others scored four apiece, too. There’s a lot of talent in this attack who can produce a moment of brilliance.
Hernandez starred in the first round with a brace in Game 1. In total, he scored three goals in the series. In Game 3, it was Malte Amundsen, Darlington Nagbe, Alexandru Matan, and Diego Rossi who got on the scoresheet. When it comes to playoff history, this isn’t new territory. Columbus has been around for years and won MLS Cups in 2008 and most recently 2020. Perhaps they can make it three titles.
Orlando City vs Columbus Crew Picks
I truly believe this match could go either way. But, to me, the best bet is the over. It’s been hit in three straight meetings and four of the last five. Expect goals on Saturday at Exploria Stadium.