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In the last five games, Columbus Crew have lost two, won two, and drawn one. The team looks shaky and inconsistent as the fight for second place intensifies. In the last match, they nabbed a point courtesy of an own goal from FC Dallas’ Nkosi Tafari.
Philadelphia Union have been dodging defeats in the last few games but frustration will be at its peak after the club drew its fourth successive game in the league. Quinn Sullivan’s opener was canceled out by FC Dallas’ Alan Velasco and the scoreline did not change till the end.
Both sides are vying for the second place of the Eastern Conference and that will make this encounter quite tense. However, the home side has a better attack and a much better chance of taking all three points.
There is a lot of history between these two teams who have each won 14 games this season and are only separated by a point. Since 2010, the two clubs have collided 33 times. Columbus have won 15 of those encounters, while Philadelphia Union have emerged victorious 13 times.
When the two teams met earlier this season, starmen Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza both bagged a brace as the Union came from a goal down to beat the Crew 4-1 at Subaru Park. The hosts were trailing after Jakob Glesnes inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.
Cohesion is the need of the hour for Columbus Crew as the conclusion of the regular MLS season draws closer. A second-place finish is attainable for the club but their upcoming fixtures are going to be anything but easy.
After the tricky encounter against the Union, the Crew will travel to the Gillette Stadium to face the New England Revolution. After that, they have a tricky trip to Atlanta United. So the hosts need a positive result in this game to build momentum.
Columbus Crew have scored the joint-highest number of goals this season. Their goalscoring average is the best across both Conferences. Only Atlanta United have matched the tally of 61 goals but they have played a game more.
The club will rely heavily on Juan Hernandez, who has netted seven goals in the last four games. The striker has scored 13 goals and nabbed seven assists in 23 appearances so far.
Last season, Columbus Crew dropped quite a few points at home due to which they narrowly missed out on playoff qualification. They managed to win only seven out of 17 home games throughout the campaign.
This season, they have worked on the problem and now possess the second-best record at home with just one loss in 15 games at the Lower.com Field.
In the last four matches, Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin has started with three different formations. None of them has helped the side gain three points. On the other hand, all have assisted the side in dodging defeat.
However, the team must be frustrated after four consecutive draws and will play to win against Columbus Crew in the next match. It will be interesting to see what formation and tactic Curtin picks to keep the prolific Columbus attackers at bay.
Columbus Crew have a better head-to-head record in this fixture. However, the club has not beaten the Union in the last six attempts. Philadelphia Union have won four and the remaining two games have ended in a draw.
Additionally, the Union have kept a clean sheet in five of those games. The goal Columbus scored against Philadelphia earlier this season, ended the incredible five-game goalless streak.
Carranza has scored 12 goals and provided four assists in 27 MLS appearances this season. The striker is only a goal behind the club’s leading goalscorer, Gazdag. However, since the break, Carranza’s form has dipped.
In the last six games, the Argentine has only scored two goals. In the last two matches, he has not played the full 90 as the coach is trying out other strikers like Quinn Sullivan and new signing Tai Baribo, who is yet to make his mark.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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