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Massive Predictions: Philadelphia Union at Crew SC

Will it be a mid-week win for the Black & Gold?

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

It’s a quick turnaround and games are coming fast and furious this week for Columbus Crew SC. Just four days after the 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field — while playing a man down for 75 minutes — the Black & Gold return home for a date with the Philadelphia Union.

This is not the first time Crew SC and the Union have met this year. The two teams played to another 0-0 draw back on St. Patrick’s Day. Since then, it’s been one win for Philadelphia, while Columbus has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Coming off the away match on Saturday and with another one looming this upcoming Saturday we take a crack at predicting how this one will play out for Crew SC.

Guilherme Torress

Crew SC seems to have regained momentum after a home win over the San Jose Earthquakes and a hard-fought road tie with the Seattle Sounders. The team returns to MAPFRE Stadium in good position to keep pushing forward against a Philadelphia Union team that lost all three of its road matches in 2018 and that has failed to get a victory away from Chester in each of its last 15 games, or almost an year.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter will have interesting decisions to make as he indicated there could be some rotation in the lineup with the team playing three matches over eight days and with the absence of the suspended Pedro Santos due to a red card. He has a few options to fill his spot, but regardless of which direction he goes, Crew SC should have enough to get another home victory.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Philadelphia Union 1

Patrick Murphy

I would be much more confident about this game from a Crew SC perspective if the team wasn’t coming off a game in Seattle on Saturday. It’s not that I don’t think this team can defeat Philly at home even on short rest, but rather I don’t know what to expect from the lineup.

Gregg Berhalter surprised me on Saturday by resting defenders Jonathan Mensah and Harrison Afful, as well as midfielder Artur. Does he now let the offense get a break? I’m not sure. I definitely believe we’ll see some different faces — perhaps Hector Jimenez in favor of Milton Valenzuela? — but I just don’t know who or where.

With that said, I still think Columbus gets the job done. Just maybe not in as convincing of a fashion as the team would if well rested and at full strength.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Sam Fahmi

While my score from the last game was incorrect, Crew SC did manage a point on the road in a tough environment AND did so while being down to 10 men for a significant portion of the game. The team returns home for a midweek affair with Philadelphia. While the turn around from a West Coast trip is generally hard on players, Crew SC has almost everyone available for this game and are at home for the following contest against Chicago.

The last game between these two teams was a SNOOZER. However, with Pedro Santos being suspended for at least this game, and the quick turnaround from Saturday, the lineup changes could make for some interesting looks. The Union, at 2-4-2 and -7 goal differential, have struggled, but have generally been a bane for Crew SC. Can the Black and Gold get the victory at home and stretch their unbeaten streak to three games? I believe so.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Philadelphia Union 2

Collin Johnson

Playing three matches in eight days is never easy, but luckily the back two matches are in Columbus and Wednesday’s opponent (Philadelphia) is in a similar situation with three matches in nine days.

In Saturday’s match against Seattle, Gregg Berhalter clearly used a lineup focused on rotation and rest without Artur, Jonathan Mensah and Harrison Afful. Adding those three back to the lineup on Wednesday will go a long way toward pushing Crew SC ahead against a struggling Union side. In the time since Philadelphia and Columbus played each other earlier in the season, Columbus have secured eight points from seven matches while Philadelphia have grabbed four points from six matches.

With no Pedro Santos, we might see Mike Grella start for the first time for the Black & Gold, and that change should bring a new dimension to the flow of the match. If Columbus can actually finish their chances, Crew SC could see themselves with a chance to grab seven points from a congested period.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Eliot McKinley

Is Philadelphia good? It’s still hard to tell. The Union have scored almost 10 fewer goals than expected this season. Much like Columbus, the chances are there, but are not being finished. However, with Crew SC continuing to lead the league defensively, chances for Philadelphia may be hard to come by. With both teams playing three games this week, I expect plenty of roster rotation from both sides. I see Columbus prevailing in a tough fought game.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Josh Mlot

Coming off a well-earned draw in Seattle, it’s easy to feel good coming into a midweek game against Philadelphia, a team that hasn’t figured things out to this point and has to come to Columbus. The lone cloud for Crew SC is the suspension of Pedro Santos for his weekend red card. While Santos hasn’t consistently made a big impact, I think his contributions are somewhat overlooked and I think he will be missed. I think it also eliminates the possibility of mid-week rest for Federico Higuain during a busy week (though, based on last year, the man will never rest anyway). It also sets up Mike Grella to get back on the field (probably off the bench) and make his presence felt.

The key will be making sure CCSC takes care of the ball to keep David Accam from killing the Black & Gold in space; and keeping track of Borek Dockal, who has helped the Union going forward, though I’m still trying to figure out how good he is. Philly is a team that always seems to catch Columbus sleeping at home and steal some points.

Right now, Crew SC looks like a mid-pack Eastern Conference team and I don’t think it can afford to drop home points against teams below it in the standings. While the result in Seattle was good, the Sounders are not a good team right now, so, for me, there is a lot of work to be done and this upcoming game is part of it. One thing I’ve learned about MLS: bet on the home team.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

Ralph Schudel

With the last game against Philly being a stalemate, I have a better feeling about Wednesday’s match. The Union have amassed just four points of a possible 18 since its last clash with Crew SC in March. The Philadelphia defense is inconsistent and potentially open the door up to a big night on the offensive end for the Black & Gold.

Columbus need to keep David Accam and C.J. Sapong under control. If that happens, there is no reason why Crew SC don’t collect three points on Wednesday.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1

We’re an optimistic bunch this week, aren’t we? Now what are your predictions for Saturday’s match? Let us know in the comment section below.