This week’s 10 MLS Thoughts talks playoff, looks at front office changes from around the league, and does a whole bunch of other things, too.
1. What to watch for in… Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew
Remember the playoffs? You know, the thing that started back in 1543 (October 25th) and doesn’t end until 2090 (December 9th)? You don’t? Fair enough. To help jog your memory, we’re digging into one thing to watch for in each of the Conference Semifinal clashes.
Time: Saturday, 5:30pm ET
What to watch for: How Columbus respond after losing the ball
There are a couple of things we can be sure of heading into this game. The first is that the Crew will control the ball — even playing away from home, they’re the dominant possession team in MLS. The second is that they’ll create chances with their possession — no team in MLS created more non-penalty xG in the regular season, per FBref. Even in two games against Orlando City, one of the better defensive teams in the league this year, the Crew created plenty of looks.
So, expect possession and chances from Columbus.
But what should we expect after the Crew lose possession? That’s the big question in this game. Oscar Pareja will set up his Orlando team to play against the ball just like he did in their regular season meetings, and he’ll let his team loose to attack on the break. If the Crew react right after they lose the ball and win it back quickly, they’ll limit the number of times one of Facundo Torres or Duncan McGuire can cause problems. Limiting Orlando’s touches in Columbus’ own third will be crucial for the Crew, because they struggle to control their own box when tasked with defending deeper down the field.