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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union

Crew SC beat the Union on Saturday, can the Black & Gold Doop in Philly?

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Win three in a row? Columbus Crew SC hasn’t done that since early April.

A second three-game winning streak of the season is on the line on Wednesday when the Black & Gold travel to take on the Philadelphia Union.

The Union are one of the sides Crew SC defeated during this mini streak, having just faced each other on Saturday. Columbus came out of that game 1-0 winners, but Philadelphia was without several key players — Andre Blake, Chris Pontius, CJ Sapong, Oguchi Onyewu, Fafa Picault, Roland Alberg — some of which will be back for this contest.

Before that last match, the Union were unbeaten in three games and, despite sitting in ninth place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, have a solid 5-3-2 record at Talen Energy Stadium.

For both teams, who are hovering around the playoff line, this game is important. Crew SC need to continue to get points to get closer to the top of the table, while Philly simply want to get back into playoff contention.

How will this one play out? We turn it over to our esteemed staff to give their thoughts.

Patrick Murphy

More three in the back for Crew SC? I think so. The newish formation seems to have worked for the Black & Gold, helping the team earn back-to-back shutout victories, but it must be noted that neither the Union nor Minnesota United were very good offensively.

I believe Gregg Berhalter will stick with the three in the back and roll out a similar lineup as Saturday’s. He told me he’s not putting any more emphasis on this Eastern Conference clash over the weekend meeting with Real Salt Lake, but I don’t believe him.

There will be no Federico Higuain in this one, so it’s likely to be another game with limited quality offensive chances. Columbus must capitalize when the team gets those because the Philadelphia attack will be much improved. It will be a good test for this all-of-a-sudden stout defense.

I’ve said all season Crew SC needs more ties on the road and that’s how I see this one playing out.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Kris Landis

Playing the same team twice in a number of days is never easy. Neither is heading on the road in MLS. Those two factors combined makes me hesitant to predict a Crew SC victory, despite getting the win at MAPFRE.

The Union will still be missing goalkeeper Andre Blake thanks to the Gold Cup, which helps, but the short turnaround and the fact that it's a road game has me thinking this will be a bit of a dull affair. I see this one being a case of the two teams largely canceling each other out.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

Columbus grabbed a slight victory against Philly in the first matchup over the weekend. And seemingly the team needed a little help to seal the deal. While Philly never seemed to truly threaten, the group did don a very weak starting XI, missing key players not just through the Gold Cup, but also rotation and rest.

Without a doubt it was the weakest lineup the Union have fielded all year, and even though it bunkered and looked to play for the draw, Crew SC still struggled to create quality chances.

On the road, it will be a tougher test. Philly will likely bring out its key starters that are available and Crew SC will likely be forced to rotate a bit with another match on Saturday. So for this, I have to take the Union at home. I think Crew SC will struggle to find quality chances and Philly will attack on the counter with their speed.
Philadelphia Union 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Guilherme Torres

It's the Philadelphia Union again, but is might not be the same side. Besides the fact it will be playing at home this time, the Union might have the return of some important starters, as CJ Sapong, Roland Alberg, Oguchi Onyewu, Fafa Picault and Keegan Rosenberry. That makes the Union a very different team and obviously a more dangerous one.

If Crew SC is capable of keeping the competitive level it displayed on the field recently, though, it's going to be an open match. I think the Black & Gold will concede a goal for the first time in four games, but will also score heading to Salt Lake City for the second of three road games with one more point in the standings.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Collin Johnson

Once again, Crew SC face the Philadelphia Union without standout goalkeeper Andre Blake. A defensive-minded Union team was able to hold Columbus to only one goal on Saturday, but that defensive focus provided Philadelphia with very little going forward. With only 23 points and 14 games to play, most of the Union's remaining games become must-win situations. I expect a slightly more offensively-oriented Philadelphia team on Wednesday but the Union will still be without both Blake and Chris Pontius again.

Crew SC were a bit unlucky not to score more goals against Philadelphia on Saturday (the Wil Trapp long ball to Kamara volley comes to mind), and should be able to get a third straight win if the team can score a few goals. Will Columbus stick with the 3-5-2 that has lead to 2 consecutive shutouts? I'm not sure, but with Higuain out, I'd bet we see three at the back for this match.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 0

Patrick Guldan

The Union are still missing a key player in Andre Blake and CJ Sapong would be limited after trying to recover from his ankle sprain if he’s able to play. Now they will be playing their third game in eight days. Crew SC is still missing Federico Higuain and maybe Harrison Afful, but the three-man back line has brought stability to the defense and Justin Meram and Ola Kamara are capable of creating some offense. Columbus Crew SC might be in line for only their second tie on the year.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Josh Enke

As proven this past Saturday, the Philadelphia Union are a stingy defense, but the slightly new-look Columbus Crew SC are starting to discover a measured rhythm that's finding close, but confident 1-0 wins.

I see no reason to not expect the Black & Gold deploying a three-man backline once again. With a surplus of center backs on the Crew SC roster, this formation gives more of them an opportunity to demonstrate their worth. That being said, Alex Crognale, Lalas Abubakar and Jonathan Mensah all had a phenomenal performance this past Saturday. I'd like to see what they can offer again, and I think those three deserve another go around together.

Away at Philly will provide a challenging atmosphere, but Columbus seems to have finally tweaked the system enough to provide the defense with a steadiness previously unseen. I think we'll see some more success, but the scoreline stays tight.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 0

Josh Mlot

There are positive vibes coming off a win over Philly, but I'm still waiting for this Crew SC side to really convince me. The good news is a U.S.-Jamaica Gold Cup final means still no Andre Blake or Chris Pontius for the Union, but I'd expect a few starters back in the lineup who didn't play on Saturday — guys like C.J. Sapong, Roland Alberg and Fafa Picault. I'm guessing this is going to be tough for Columbus, but I'll stay positive. The Black & Gold will get something on the road, but not all.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Now’s your chance. What do you think the score will be between Crew SC and the Union? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.