Both Columbus Crew SC and FC Cincinnati are coming off shutout losses in their second games back from Orlando. Oddly enough, the last time Crew SC dropped a 1-0 loss at NYCFC, they came back three days later with a 3-1 #HellisReal victory at Nippert Stadium.
Coincidence aside, Saturday's match is not about the better overall team, as Caleb Porter repeatedly says, but about the team that performs best.
With that, let's delve into some statistical trends between the two sides' performances this year, as well as numbers from the three prior regular-season meetings.
|Team||Games Played||Goals||Shot Conversion Rate (ex. Blocks)||Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||Shots, on Target||Mins/Goal||Chances Created (inc. assists)||Possession||Duel Success||Tackle Success||Touches in the Opp Box||Fouls Conceded||Goals Conceded|
|Columbus Crew SC||7||12||21.43||68||28||52.5||54||52.34||54.38||54.55||142||85||2|
Of course, Columbus's nine goals vs. FC Cincinnati grabs the headline, fueled by Gyasi Zardes' five goals and a brace in each of the last two matches.
It's not like Columbus is blowing teams away with aggregate shot totals though. The Crew's 68 total shot count in 2020 stands just three ahead of Cincy's 65, and the same advantage goes for chances created, 54-51.
The contrast between the two sides' goal production lies in the chance quality, with the Crew's 21.43 conversion rate ranking third overall, compared to FCC's 13.04 conversion rate.
For a team that has the fewest touches in the opponent's box (88), three of Cincy's six goals have had to come from outside the box, while 75-percent of Columbus's tallies this year have come from within.
Under Jaap Stam, Cincinnati has shown that they are willing to concede possession nearly 54-percent of the time and aim to capitalize on mistakes and in transition, as they did against the New York Red Bulls, Atlanta United, and the Portland Timbers in the MLS is Back Tournament.
Meanwhile, the Crew has the 10th-most touches in the opponent's box (142) in addition to being effective passers in the final third from both an efficiency and aggregate standpoint. The Black & Gold maintain a 72-percent passing accuracy on passes ending in the final third on 657 passes, the latter tied for seventh-most in MLS.
This season, the Crew is averaging a goal nearly every 53 minutes, but against FCC, that shrinks to one goal every 30 minutes. On the opposite side, Cincy is conceding a goal nearly every 53 minutes, and has also shown to be one of the more physical teams – something which NYCFC displayed on Monday in an effort to break-up the Crew's rhythm.
Heading into Saturday, FCC is one of the League's best tackling teams on average with a 65-percent success rate while committing 99 fouls, the fourth-highest total in MLS. Meanwhile, Crew SC is fouled the second-most in the League behind Vancouver (104).
Aside from the fact that Crew SC will be favored going into Saturday, there is a recent pattern of success in bounce-back situations.
Dating back to last season, the Crew is 6-0-0 in the last six overall matches immediately following a loss or a draw, highlighted by a 4-0 win & 3-1 win against, yes, FC Cincinnati.