Columbus Crew SC hosts the final home game of three in Sepeteber. So far they are a perfect 2-0-0 at MAPFRE this month and look to remain perfect for the month at the Philadelphia Union come to town. Crew SC are a single point ahead of the Union in the Eastern Conference standings. The difference between a home play-in game and going on the road.
Crew SC are well rested and healthy. They spent the entire week at home after last week’s home game. The whole team had a full week of normal training. The staff had a full week to prepare. This is will be a first choice lineup in the biggest game of the season. They had time to prepare physically and mentally for what is the biggest game of the season so far.
The Union have been very busy. Tonight they play their fifth game in 14 days, including a heartbreaking third Open Cup Final loss in Houston on Wednesday. Head coach Jim Curtain has rotated heavily through the busy stretch, but that’s still a lot of travel as they’ve played in Philadelphia, Seattle, and Houston before traveling to Columbus for tonight’s game.
Full time: 0-0 between Crew SC and the Union. Columbus still in 4th and misses a chance to clinch playoffs.
90’ Afful fires a bullet and Blake comes up huge! Meram heads the resulting corner just wide.
85’ Sosa earns a free kick. This is a chance from 27 from an angle. Results in nothing.
78’ Zardes gets the first shot on goal tonight. He redirected a Meram cross that Blake parried for a corner.
75’ Crew SC counters off the corner but Meram’s shot hits side netting. Neither side hitting the target yet tonight.
74’ Sapong earns a foul from 25 yards dead center of the Crew SC goal. Big chance is blocked by the wall.
67’ Hansen is replacing Santos on the right wing for Crew SC.
60’ No shots on target for either team yet.
55’ Williams replaces Abubakar. Lalas has struggled in the open field tonight and Berhalter apparently wants to make a change.
49’ Burke and Steffen collide on a cross into the box. Steffen down for a bit, but gets back up. Burke still down. Took a minute before getting up.
Second half kicks off.
Halftime: It’s scoreless between the Union and Crew SC. No shots on target for either team.
45’ + Zardes in on goal, but there was a foul in the buildup.
42’ Crew SC chance comes from interplay between Santos and Meram. Cutback pass is cleared.
37’ Philadelphia goal waved off after Burke fouls Abubakar in the buildup to Jonathan putting the ball in his own net. Ref Drew Fischer checked on video review to make the call. Still 0-0.
35’ Higuain… just toe poked a pass to Meram that unlocks Meram. Beautiful pass. Sadly the shot is blocked.
30’ It’s become a midfield battle. Neither side successful in creating real danger recently.
23’ Union have Crew SC pinned back, but able to get forward with another diagonal. Get a corner out of it.
15’ Big switch from Crew SC unlocks the defense. Valenzuela eventually free to send in a cross. Zardes just misses a tap-in.
12’ Burke for the Union gets some space after a mis-hit pass. Mensah cleans up for Crew SC.
7’ Crew SC on the back heel a bit as the Union have been aggressive going forward. No real chances though.
3’ Crew SC in transition, Valenzuela eventually puts in a cross that’s cut out. Perhaps should have been a little more from that.
Kickoff at MAPFRE!
The Union have been hot, pushing Crew SC for 4th in the Eastern Conference. Ralph Schudel takes a look at how they’ve taken care of business on the field in his scouting report. The staff has a good feeling that Columbus can take care of business at home. Pat Murphy explains that Crew SC aren’t relying on an explosive outburst this season. The defense is leading the way.
Injuries & Suspensions:
Columbus Crew SC: The injury report is blank. There is a full squad to choose from.
Philadelphia Union: Defender Josh Yaro is out with a right adductor sprain. While defender Matt Real and midfielder weren’t able to get fit enough to play. Midfielder Borek Dockal’s left ankle sprain has healed enough that he’s on the substitutes list. Defender Jack Elliott will be suspended for the game from last week’s red card.
How to watch:
Date: Saturday, September 29th, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
TV: CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2