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Oppo Research: 5 Things about Columbus Crew

Ty Fisher of Massive Report tells us why Cucho Hernández is struggling, why the Concacaf Champions Cup was draining, and why Columbus need to get back to basics.

Cucho Hernández likes to score goals | Courtesy of

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Ty Fisher of Massive Report to learn more about Columbus Crew, New York City FC's opponent on Friday night. Here is your NYCFC vs Columbus preview.

1. Midweek fixtures have affected Columbus

Hudson River Blue: After winning the MLS Cup last season, Columbus has taken a step back this season, sitting seventh in the Eastern Conference with 24 points. What’s led to this backward progression?

Ty Fisher: The backward progression can be attributed to a number of things, but the biggest is having multiple games within a week and our long Concacaf Champions Cup run. Having games in the midweek and adding in CCC have definitely taken a toll on the team, and the fatigue is catching up to them. Now that CCC is over, this team is making moves and will definitely turn it around with just over half of the season left.

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2. Cucho Hernández is struggling

HRB: Cucho Hernández scored 24 goals last season but has struggled this year, only netting six. He’s had some injuries, but are there any other reasons for the low goal tally?

TF: Yes, Cucho has struggled but my hunch tells me that he hasn’t been the same as he was. He was served a two-match suspension by head coach Wilfried Nancy at the beginning of the season after the Crew’s 2-0 loss to Charlotte FC for "Violating Team Policy." The policy? Nobody knows. Once his manager imposed suspension was completed, he was then issued a red card again DC United and had to serve ANOTHER match suspension. The injuries yes are a factor, but something tells me there’s an underlying factor that has hindered his ability to contribute. 

Cucho Hernández scores against CF Monterrey

3. Columbus need to stay focused

HRB: Columbus only lost two games this season but has drawn six games. How can Columbus turn these ties into wins?

TF: The biggest way Columbus can turn ties into wins, is just by simply getting back to the basics. After going seven matches winless before the CCC final, Columbus won their first three of six on the road outscoring their opponents 8-2 in that time. “Stay on the task,” as Nancy likes to say. If Columbus can do that, we’ll be rising back up the standings. 

4. The X-Factor: Set Pieces, Yankee Stadium

HRB: What's the X-factor that could decide this game?

TF: The x-factor that can decide this game is how Columbus can perform on their set pieces. They have NOT been nice to Columbus in recent matches, or in NYC. Another way is being able to play on the pitch given the size dimensions. Yes it’s smaller, but has not worked in our favor in recent matches if memory serves me correctly. 

5. Predicted score, Starting XI

HRB: Prediction time: Starting XI? Final score?

TF: Score: NYCFC 1-1 Crew