One match remains for Major League Soccer clubs before the league takes a hiatus for the Copa America. Columbus Crew SC end the early portion of the season with a match at the Philadelphia Union, a side that already has a win over the Black & Gold this season.
That match, the first home game of the year for Crew SC, saw the Union grab a goal in first half stoppage time and concede again to Chris Pontius mid-second half. Then Columbus forward Kei Kamara pulled one back late, but the Black & Gold could not convert a plethora of chances into an equalizer.
While it may have been surprising at the time, Philadelphia has continued its good run of form through the team's first 13 games of the season. The Union sit at the top of the Eastern Conference with 20 points and look to extend a seven-match unbeaten run into the break.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter will be without several players in this match. Midfielder Cedrick Mabwati and Harrison Afful, likely starters, both missed Saturday's 4-3 win over Real Salt Lake while away on international duty. Both of them remain gone, but add midfielder-turned-defender Rodrigo Saravia and midfielder Emil Larsen to the international list.
With injuries to Tyson Wahl (concussion) and Gaston Sauro (knee), Columbus has a bit of a lineup crisis on its hands.
The Union are not immune from injuries either. Captain Maurice Edu is out and defender Joshua Yaro is listed as doubtful for this match. Starting goalkeeper Andre Blake, who made six saves in the first meeting, will also not feature as he is away with the Jamaican national team.
Here is all you need to know. Come back and chat with members of the Massive Report staff and other fans during the match in the comment section below.
Keys to the Match
- Overcome the fatigue: Both of these teams last played on Saturday, but the Union are playing the club's third game in a week. Whoever can adjust better to heavy legs will have an advantage in this one.
- Containing attack midfielders: Columbus was burned twice by Chris Pontius in the first meeting. Justin Meram played one of his best games on Saturday and says he feels great. Slowing down both of those players will do wonders for the opposition's defense.
- Not looking ahead: With an extended break coming up for these players, it will be important to stay concentrated for 90 more minutes. Then they can relax and watch other people play soccer.
How to Watch
Date/Time: June 1, 2016/7:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA
Television: CW Columbus, TWC SportsChannel
Online: MLS Live
Radio: CD 102.5 (English), La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)