Preview: Crew vs. Union

East leaders Crew face confident Union at PPL Park

The Basics

Philadelphia Union (4-8-3, 15 points, 6th in the Eastern Conference) vs. Columbus Crew (10-4-4, 34 points, 1st in the Eastern Conference)


TV Info

8 p.m. ET, ESPN2, PPL Park

Intro

The Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew make their first-ever
visit to PPL Park. Currently toiling in sixth place in the East, the
Union have picked up results in four of their last five matches, while
Columbus come into the match having lost 3-1 to Chivas USA in their last outing.


Home team news

The Union have been playing much better recently than earlier in the
season, picking up wins against Seattle and Toronto within the last
month. Forward Alejandro Moreno will be playing against the team for whom he played two seasons before being left unprotected in this year’s expansion draft.


Away team news

Columbus have been the bosses of the Eastern Conference so far this
season, cleaning up against the other seven teams. The loss of Eddie Gaven to a head injury will hurt the team’s width against the Union, but with Guillermo Barros Schelotto patrolling the middle of the pitch, they should do well to maintain possession.


Heroes & Villains

Peter Nowak vs. Robert Warzycha: The league’s two Polish managers are
set to do battle on Thursday in a match of two gritty, hard-nosed
teams. The styles of the clubs reflect the attitudes of their
respective managers, and fans can expect a high work rate in front of a
national audience.


Stat that makes you go, “Hmm...”

Columbus are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a positive goal differential, posting a +10. Second on the list are Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire, who are perfectly even on 0.

 

Keys to the Game

Philadelphia
  • Controlling Schelotto’s range and vision will be the top priority for Stefani Miglioranzi and Fred
  • Play wide through Justin Mapp and Sebastien Le Toux to get balls into the middle

Columbus

  • Taking the possession from the Union will frustrate them and make it difficult for them to get going
  • Pressure Union forwards Alejandro Moreno and Danny Mwanga so they can’t get into good shooting areas
Injuries

Philadelphia

OUT:
MF Shea Salinas (L fibula fracture); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (L
groin strain); FW Alejandro Moreno (R knee contusion); FW Danny Mwanga
(R ankle sprain); MF Roger Torres (R ankle sprain)

Columbus

OUT: MF Eddie Gaven (concussion); DF Gino Padula (L knee inflammation); DOUBTFUL: MF Robbie Rogers (L knee inflammation)