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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union

Can the Black and Gold maintain the perfect start to 2018 on the road?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a perfect start to 2018 for Columbus Crew SC... at least in the record books.

The Black & Gold are 2-0 after a 2-0 win at Toronto FC to start the year and a 3-2 victory last Saturday in the home opener over the Montreal Impact.

This weekend, Crew SC take on the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium, looking to maintain the fast start to the season.

The Union are also undefeated thus far, having only played one game — a 2-0 win at home over the New England Revolution. In that match, Philadelphia played a large portion with a man advantage after a Revolution red card, so it’s hard to know too much about the Union so far in 2018.

With that said, our staff will take a stab at what to expect from this St. Patrick’s Day game.

Josh Mlot

At first glance, I was ready to quickly chalk this one up as a win for Columbus, but I think this matchup creates some challenges for Crew SC. This, I believe, is a better Union side than last year. Black & Gold fans should know all about how dangerous David Accam is, and he joins a group that is bedded in well in the system and with each other. Plus, this is a road game for Crew SC, and those are hard to win in MLS.

That being said, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from Philly. We’ve only seen it once this season, and that was against a New England side with some issues (and which played down a man). The Union have had an extra week to prep for CCSC and are playing on their home field, and Columbus are coming off a second half that was less than confidence-inducing.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Philadelphia Union 1

Guilherme Torres

There’s not much to take from the Philadelphia Union’s only MLS match so far as they defeated an unstable New England Revolution having a one-man advantage for three quarters of the time two weeks ago.

However, it’s fair to say that the Union have a potent front line with recently-signed David Accam joining C.J. Sapong up front. It’s a very dangerous duo and Crew SC’s backline will need to do better than it did last week against Montreal to put the team in position to win the match.

For the quality Philadelphia has up front, it lacks on defense with rookie Auston Trusty and second-year player Jack Elliott starting at the center back positions. That should lead to an entertaining match and a lot will be decided in the duel of Wil Trapp/Artur vs Alejandro Bedoya/Harris Medujanin in the center of the field.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 2

Ralph Schudel

I’m going to take the path less traveled in the prediction this week. I see this being a high-octane game with two attacking offenses, but I also see the goalkeepers coming up huge. I wouldn’t be shocked when the final whistle blows if the score is 0-0. The Union’s Andre Blake and Crew SC’s Zack Steffen are two of the brightest, young goalkeepers in CONCACAF and will get the best out of one another on Saturday.

However, if I have to pick a winner, I tend to side with Philadelphia and David Accam. The Ghanaian is a thorn in the side of Black & Gold and has a tendency to show up and make an impact for his team. Last year, he turned Jonathan Mensah inside out and scored a goal that allowed the Chicago Fire to escape with a tie. I think Accam prevails again, but this time his goalie doesn’t disappoint him.
Philadelphia Union 1 Columbus Crew SC 0

Collin Johnson

Crew SC’s performance against Montreal last week was a lot less dominant than I expected, but the Black & Gold still managed to eke out a win. With another road game against an unbeaten — ok, 1-0 but that’s till unbeaten — Eastern Conference opponent gives Columbus a huge opportunity to set the pace in the East during the early part of this season.

Philadelphia improved its roster during the offseason, the addition of David Accam specifically, and will provide a good, early test for Crew SC. Still, Columbus should and will beat Philly on the back of another Gyasi Zardes goal and Federico Higuain’s 50th career assist.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Nathaniel Marhefka

The Union may be the home team in this one, but I still think Crew SC are the favorites in my mind. Two convincing wins to start the season, and I think they can try to do the same in Philadelphia.

The press is going to be a big factor in this one as the Union attempt to dismantle the Crew SC build up from it’s source. Catch an early goal from a turnover and the Union will be in control. If the Black & Gold breaks the press and grabs one early, it’s wide open.

This is tough to call but I do think that Columbus can edge out an away victory, with the Union goal as a result of their pressing.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Patrick Guldan

Crew SC is off to a hot start, but the second half against Montreal showed a few wobbles in how well the team is playing. The Union are ahead of where the Impact are and are playing at home. They’ve integrated their new players and have a distinct style that will trouble Columbus. The high press and physical striker have been problems for the Black & Gold in the past and will again.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 2

Patrick Murphy

I’m not confident the Union are going to be all that great this year in MLS, but I was more confident the Impact are going to struggle in 2018 and we saw the fits that team gave Crew SC in Columbus.

We’ve talked plenty of times about how difficult it is to win away from home in this league and I don’t think, despite the 2-0 result in Toronto, this season will be any different.

I think both of these sides have defensive issues with goalkeepers who can help make up for it. I do think the Black & Gold’s attack is much more potent, but playing at Philly will neutralize that enough.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 2

Agree? Disagree? What are your predictions for Crew SC’s trip to Philly? Let us know in the comment section below.