Little did we know all it took was the Massive Report predictions to get super negative to get a Columbus Crew SC win.
After 10 games, the Black & Gold finally earned a full three points in a match following the 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday night. Ethan Finlay scored his third goal in two contests and Federico Higuain found the back of the net for the first time since May 7.
There’s no time to celebrate the win though as Crew SC gets right back to work on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Union come to town and Columbus needs to carry the momentum from the triumph over the Revs into this contest if the club is going to attempt to climb back into playoff contention.
The Union sit in fourth in the East, but have not been on the best run of late.
Can Crew SC capitalize and begin a streak of wins? Let’s see what our experts think about this contest now that some of that bitter taste of defeat has been washed away.
Could this be the resurgence time?
Crew SC looked better against New England than they have for most of the season. We saw glimpses of Berhalter adding a new wrinkle to the way the team plays, but not to the entire game. There does seem to be more grit coming through the Black & Gold these days. Philadelphia is not as hot as it was at the beginning of the year.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 0
On the back of their best performance of the season Crew SC host one of the surprises of the league this year, the Union, who are coming off a loss to Toronto FC. Just before that they SMASHED the Revs, so I think this match boils down to how Philly react to the TFC loss. If they come out a little unsure, tentative, the Crew could carry their good performance forward and really take the match to them. If they come out fired up, the shoe is on the other foot and it'll be the Black & Gold under pressure to perform in front of their home fans.
I think (or hope) Crew SC starts off strongly and gets another early goal. I don't think this turns into a blowout, as Philly will hang around and probably get at least a goal, but I think the increase in confidence, especially on the wings, will carry Columbus to three more points.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1
The Philadelphia Union aren't the New England Revolution. They have a functional midfield that won't roll over and allow a free reign to the Crew SC midfield. That makes the return of Tony Tchani key. He is able to disrupt teams that rely on the midfield tempo, but aren't able to deal with the physicality and pressure. Crew SC will need that type of dominant performance as the rest of the team will be dealing with short rest. The other key relies on Gregg Berhalter getting the rotation right. There aren't players on the team that can do what Ola Kamara or Federico Higuain can do. Where Berhalter does rotate will dictate how fluid Columbus is. With that rotation and against a more stalwart team, I think Crew SC struggle a little more and tie a solid Union side.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1
One win is one building block upon which to kickstart future potential success. Michael Parkhurst talked to me about this concept earlier this summer. As hackneyed as the idea might sound, getting back on the right track had to start somewhere, and then a cohesive team would be able to work to hopefully develop a string of positive results. If Crew SC has indeed weathered the storm of a more-than-mediocre summer without the locker room crumbling psychologically, then perhaps the team is ready to assertively extract more points from their performances. No better time than now to raise eyebrows by dispatching Philly on a quick turnaround from the weekend's action. The return of Tony Tchani plus stylistically distinct role players contributing to creativity on offense both bode well. Big for me are purposeful substitutions, ones that reflect an understanding of what IS happening mid-match rather than what Berhalter would like to be ideally happening. Ethan Finlay gets an assist, Ola Kamara struggles early but punches through later, and Pipa makes the Union sweat on numerous corners.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Philadelphia Union 2
This might be the match that I finally predict a Crew win. Philadelphia is somehow, mysteriously in fourth place in the East despite winning only one of their last six outings in the league. The one victory came against New England, 4-0, but the Union let in five against the Montreal and fell to Toronto over the weekend 3-1. What the Union matches I have seen and looking at their recent fixtures, there is a noticeable trend developing: The team is not good at defending on the counter.
Crew scored two on the counter over against New England and I am expecting them to take it to the Union. If Ola, Finlay, Meram, and the likes can finish their chances in front of net I predict Crew can out score Philly.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Philadelphia Union 2
The Black & Gold finally put together a full 90-minute performance against the New England Revolution. An early goal made it easier, but we didn’t see Crew SC concerned when New England fought back. Another goal early in the second half was good, but we’d seen a 2-0 lead evaporate in the second half previously. The defense looked good, which isn’t something we’ve said about this club often this year.
Columbus got multiple proverbial monkeys off the team’s back in that win, but now it’s about putting together those performances consecutively. We’ve heard all year that one positive result would help turn things around, so now it’s time for the team to prove it.
Philly isn’t in great form, but the Union aren’t free falling like the Revs either. I see this one certainly being more difficult. Despite only one loss at home, Crew SC has struggled to get wins. It will take even more focus for the team to get just its fourth victory at MAPFRE Stadium of 2016.
I’m not completely sold yet.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 2