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Columbus Crew SC Face the Philadelphia Union in Final Group Match of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic

A spot in the championship game of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic is on the line in this preseason contest.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Alright gang, it's time to get serious. That is what Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter is likely telling his team ahead of today's preseason match with the Philadelphia Union.

Well not really serious, but things are certainly ramping up for the Black and Gold as they continue in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic tournament in Bradenton, Fl.

In Saturday's contest with the Costa Rica U-23s - a 2-0 win for Columbus - Berhalter played what is likely to be very close to his first choice side. Every starter, with the exception of forward Kei Kamara, played 62 minutes, as the team looked to get match fitness before the start of the regular season.

Wednesday's opponent gives Berhalter the second chance this preseason to take on an MLS side. Crew SC fell 3-1 to FC Dallas in their first game of the preseason, but the team expects to be much more equipped to deal with the Union after four contests.

The Black and Gold are 2-0-0 in the tournament, having defeated London United 7-0 in the opening game, followed by the win over the Ticos and sit tied with Philadelphia atop Group B with nine points and +9 goal differential.

The New York Red Bulls are in first place in Group A with four points, followed closely by OKC Energy FC and Toronto FC with three points each.

The Union are 2-2 in the preseason with both of their wins coming in this tournament. They fell 3-1 to NASL side, Jacksonville Armada FC in their first preseason match and then dropped lost 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, also of the NASL, on a 68th minute penalty kick.

The Black and Gold rebounded from their preseason opening loss to Dallas, reeling off three consecutive wins. Crew SC beat the Austin Aztex 1-0 in the ATX Pro Championship and then won their opening two group games of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic.

After no matches since Saturday, it is likely Berhalter continues to play most of his first team in order to ensure chemistry and fitness are where they needs to be heading into the MLS regular season, which kicks of March 7.

The winners of each group will face each other in the championship game Saturday at 7:30 pm ET, while the second place finishers from the groups will play in a consolation match Saturday at 5:00 pm ET. If Columbus earns a win today, they will win the group and be in the final.

Projected Starting XI:

Columbus Crew SC - Football tactics and formations