With only four games remaining in their regular season, the Crew find themselves one point out of the playoffs. Three points at home against the lower-tabled Union on Saturday night (7:30) are necessary to keep their playoff hopes in their own hands.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season but the first in Columbus. Back on April 14th, Philadelphia came away with a 1-0 victory after a penalty kick goal by Gabriel Gomez. The Crew’s next trip to the City of Brotherly Love turned out slightly better for the black and gold. A late stoppage-time winner from Eddie Gaven secured a 2-1 win.
The Crew’s 45 points (13-11-6) on the year are almost good enough to sneak them into the playoffs. They are one point behind the Houston Dynamo for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Union are all but statistically eliminated from postseason play with only 30 points (8-14-6).
Columbus’ game last Saturday against the Chicago Fire ended in a 2-1 away defeat. Jairo Arrieta opened the scoring for the Crew, but Chris Rolfe’s two goals propelled Chicago to victory. Philadelphia hosted the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, picking up a 3-1 win lead by a Freddy Adu brace. However, Adu picked up an injury in the game and is questionable for tonight.
Head coach Robert Warzycha had no other option but to start Emilio Renteria in Dilly Duka’s place last weekend. Duka was in New Jersey for personal reasons. Now reunited with the team, it will be interesting to see if Duka regains his place in the starting XI. The other ten players should keep their starting spots from last week.
Philadelphia are without any major scoring threat. Adu has carried the majority of the load this year, but even he only has five goals and one assist. Attacking midfielder Michael Farfan leads the team with four assists, while former Crew player Brian Carroll is the Union’s cog in the midfield.
Prediction: Crew 2-2 Union
Even though the desperately need three points for the playoff race, Columbus’ recent bad form continues to haunt them, giving up a late goal to the Union and only garnering a single point.