Columbus Crew SC have a quick return as they set off on the three game road trip with a familiar opponent in Philadelphia Union. Both sides will be battling fatigue as they play midweek.
Federico Higuain remains unavailable as he is still recovering from his ankle injury and Harrison Afful is an addition to the injury list. The rest of the first team should be ready to go as Gregg Berhalter will likely deploy the three man backline again. Niko Hansen is getting back to fitness and is available while Mohammed Abu is still getting back to 100%.
With Jamaica in the final, the Union will still be without Andre Blake though CJ Sapong may be set to return from his injury layoff. The Union rotated on Saturday evening and may be ready to bring out a stronger lineup.
Keys to the Match:
Breaking down the wall: The Union were steadfast in defense on Saturday and Crew SC struggled to create against such a dedicated unit. If Philly wants to try and grind out a result again, Columbus will need someone who can step up in tight spaces. That likely means looking to a healthy and more fit Justin Meram to force the Union defense to overreact, much like on Saturday evening.
The big leagues: The three man backline appears to be finding it’s footing, but at home, Philadelphia is likely to come out and play. Lalas Abubakar and Alex Crognale have back to back shutouts, but the prospect of facing CJ Sapong is a bigger task than what Minnesota United and the Union have presented in the past couple games. The rookies will have to step up with the offense in a slump.
Battle to the benches: Both teams are playing on tired legs and Crew SC travelled on Tuesday. The teams will be tired or they’ll play rotated squads that don’t play quite as smoothly. In the heat of summer, this is the type of game that will be played at a slower pace. The chances will be fewer and farther between and goal scoring opportunities will be that much more precious. It’s likely that someone out of favor or trying to break back into the lineup will have a chance to make a difference. Will Ethan Finlay, Hansen, or Cristian Martinez be able to step up?
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Wednesday July 26th, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, PA)
Watch: MyTV Columbus , Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English Broadcast) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)
A nightcap doubleheader with the USMNT
Just moments after the Crew SC game is due to end, the United States has a chance to add a trophy tonight as the Gold Cup Final wraps up on a midweek evening. The USMNT will face off against Jamaica after the island nation’s shock victory over Mexico on Saturday. It would be the sixth Gold Cup for the U.S. while Jamaica is looking for it’s first trophy in the competition.
How to Watch (Nats Edition):
Date/Time: Wednesday July 26th, 9:50 p.m.
Venue: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, CA)
Watch: FS1, Univision and UDN
Stream: FoxSportsGO, Univision