ExLink - 09/29/18 - CLBvPHI

Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 31

MAPFRE Stadium — Columbus
Sept. 29 — 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)

The Columbus Crew host the Philadelphia Union in a critical Eastern Conference showdown Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium that will likely have massive playoff implications.

Fourth place in the Eastern Conference, Crew SC are coming off a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids, while the Union, one point behind Columbus in the East standings, are looking to bounce back from a third U.S. Open Cup final defeat.

This is the third meeting this season, with the sides playing to a goalless draw at Talen Energy Stadium on March 17 and Columbus winning, 1-0, at MAPFRE on May 9 on a 53rd-minute goal by Gyasi Zardes.

Columbus Crew SC

Columbus (13-9-8) rebounded from a midweek loss to the Portland Timbers to defeat the Rapids, 2-1, at home Saturday night. It was their fifth straight home win.

Zardes opened the scoring in the 17th minute before Shkelzen Gashi leveled on a quickly-taken free kick nine minutes later. Federico Higuain, who set up Zardes’ goal, struck for the game-winner in the 57th minute, six minutes after Deklan Wynne was sent off on a straight red card.

“At halftime I wasn’t too pleased. I thought we could have finished more chances,” Gregg Berhalter said. “I thought we weren’t aggressive enough in the game. Thinking about duels won, if you look at the first half, it was low, and the second half was low as well, but there weren’t many duels to compete with. Overall, I was just a little disappointed. I wanted the guys to play with a little more urgency in the second half.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Artur, M - Federico Higuain
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Zack Steffen — Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Milton Valenzuela — Artur, Wil Trapp — Pedro Santos, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram — Gyasi Zardes

Philadelphia Union

Back in the U.S. Open Cup final for a third time in five years, the Union (14-12-4) suffered a third defeat, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium Wednesday night.

Mauro Manotas struck for a first-half brace, putting the hosts in front on four minutes and an own goal by Auston Trusty in the 65th minute paved the way for the Dynamo to win their first USOC title.

“We win as a team and we lose as a team. As hard as it is to lose a final, it doesn’t dismiss the entire work that’s been done this season,” Jim Curtin said. “It’s still a very good Open Cup run; it doesn’t end the way we want.”

  • Suspended: D - Jack Elliott 
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: D - Matt Real (left knee sprain), M - Ilsinho (quad strain), D - Raymon Gaddis (left ankle sprain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Andre Blake — Keegan Rosenberry, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Ramon Gaddis — Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin — CJ Sapong, Borek Dockal, Fafa Picault — Cory Burke

All-Time Series

Officials

Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Kathryn Nesbitt, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Dave Gantar
VAR: Caleb Mendez