Philadelphia Union: Preview vs the Columbus Crew

With the Philadelphia Union set to face off against the Columbus Crew, here’s everything you need to know about the game.

The Ins and Outs

Philadelphia Union (1-0-0) VS Columbus Crew (2-0-0)

When: Saturday at 2 PM Eastern – Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, PA)

Where to Watch: 6ABC

PRO Referees: Head- Nima Saghafi, AR1-Peter Manikowski, AR@- Peter Balciunas, 4th Marcos Deoliveira, VAR- Jorge Gonzalez

Coaches: Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union) – Gregg Berhalter (Columbus Crew)

Build from the Opener

While not the best of opening forays by the Philadelphia Union, they did manage to win their opener against the New England Revolution. With goals from Anthony Fontana and CJ Sapong, the Union managed to easily put away the rather lackluster Revolution side. That being said, it was far from a perfect performance and they will need to step their game up to beat a red-hot Columbus side. The home Union will look to continue with a second strong performance.

The Lineups

The Union will likely start the same lineup they did in the opener, with the only possible change involves the number 10 position. With Borek Dockal now officially on the roster, and mostly a fit, he could take over for Fontana. Though it remains to be seen whether Dockal is a fully matched fit so one of two things seems likely to happen: either Fontana starts and Dockal gets a cameo, or Dockal plays until he reaches his limit and Fontana comes in. The former seems more likely, but Dockal seems to want to make a push in his first appearance.

The second place of interest will be at the Right-Wing position. While Fabian Herbers was ok in the opener, substitute Corey Burke made a solid contribution from the bench. That could be an interesting position of note with Fafa Picault still out for the next two games. Eric Ayuk could also play into the starting conversation at that position.

Keys to the Game: The Union will want to continue to play solid defense. Keeping Andre Blake from making a lot of saves will help him when he must make the big ones. CJ Sapong will have to continue to be a goal-scoring threat. Hopefully, he will have a lot of his bad misses out of the way after a less than stellar first game. Sapong missed a lot of clear-cut chances in the opener.

Player to Watch: Gyasi Zardes

The oft-beleaguered LA Galaxy forward has found a strong start in his new home in Columbus. While his stay with the Galaxy was over, and many thought his national team career was over, Zardes has gotten off to a hot start in his new city. The bleached blond forward has scored three goals in his first two games, and if the Union hope to make it to 2-0 they will need to keep the Californian native off the scoreboard.