MX23RW : Friday, July 23 18:10:39| >> :60:1209:1209:
Jun 24, 2021 at 12.30am UK at PPL Park
PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia Union
1-0
Columbus CrewColumbus Crew
Monteiro (24')
Real (72'), Flach (84')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Matan (43'), Wormgoor (51')

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Major League Soccer clash between Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

A crucial game takes place at the top of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference on Wednesday, as Philadelphia Union play host to Columbus Crew.

The hosts currently occupy third spot, having won three of their last four games, while their opponents sit just one point behind with a game in hand.


Match preview

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin walks onto the field before match against the New England Revolution on May 12, 2021© Reuters

Philadelphia come into this game in a strong run of form, having not lost any of their last six league outings, collecting 14 points in that time.

Before the recent three-week break at the beginning of June, they had recorded back-to-back victories, firstly defeating DC United 1-0 in Washington thanks to Kacper Przybylko's goal on the stroke of half time.

They then thrashed Portland Timbers 3-0 on home turf, as Przybylko again got on the scoresheet alongside goals from Sergio Santos and Jack Elliott.

The Union looked set to fall to a defeat upon their return to action on Sunday though, as they were losing 2-0 away against Atlanta United going into the final 10 minutes, as Przybylko scored an own goal before Anton Walkes doubled the hosts' lead in the 82nd minute.

However, Jim Curtin's men did not go down easily, as they immediately pulled a goal back through Cory Burke before centre-back Jakob Glesnes rifled in a 93rd-minute equaliser from long range to snatch a vital point for his side.

That saw them remain in third spot in the Eastern Conference, while sitting level on points with second-placed Orlando City and one point ahead of Wednesday's opponents in fourth spot.

They will look to pick up another important victory on Wednesday to stretch that gap between themselves and the chasing pack, while their visitors will aim to take three points home to leapfrog Curtin's side.

Columbus Crew head coach Caleb Porter reacts on May 23, 2021© Reuters

Before the recent international break, Columbus Crew started to build momentum with consecutive wins, first defeating New York City 2-1 away from home as Lucas Zelarayan netted a brace in the final 10 minutes to snatch all three points, after their hosts had led for the majority of the encounter.

They then won by the same scoreline at home to Toronto, as Luis Diaz and Gyasi Zardes got on the scoresheet before Ayo Akinola pulled a goal back for the visitors early in the second half, but they may have been concerned that the break would halt their improvement.

That turned out not to be the case, though, as the Crew defeated Chicago Fire on home turf last time out upon their return to league action.

A Zardes brace inside the first half meant they were in the driving seat throughout, and they stayed in control for a comfortable 2-0 victory, making it three consecutive MLS wins for Caleb Porter's men.

That run has seen the Ohio outfit rise to fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, and they are quickly gaining momentum in their bid to retain the title, now comfortably inside the playoff spots.

With Wednesday's opponents just one point ahead, having played a game more, the trip to Philadelphia presents a great opportunity for Porter's men to break into the top three, helping their playoff draw if they are able to remain at the top end of the division for the remainder of the regular campaign.

Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Columbus Crew head coach Caleb Porter reacts against the Seattle Sounders in the second half during the 2020 MLS Cup Final at MAPFRE Stadium in December 2020© Reuters

Philadelphia Union come into this game without important midfielder Jose Martinez, who is away on international duty with Venezuela at the Copa America.

In his absence, Alejandro Bedoya, Leon Flach and Jamiro Monteiro should continue to form the midfield three, with Anthony Fontana playing just in front.

Meanwhile, Brazilian veteran Ilsinho and Jack De Vries will miss out through injury, having both been absent since the first game of the season.

Their line will be led by Kacper Przybylko, who has been in clinical form this season, netting eight goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.

Columbus Crew remain without several players through injury, as Milton Valenzuela, Aidan Morris, Perry Kitchen and Luis Diaz are all out of action.

They will be led by experienced forward Gyasi Zardes, who netted a brace last time out to fire his side to a 2-0 win.

Meanwhile, the back four of Harrison Afful, Josh Williams, Jonathan and Pedro Santos should remain unchanged after a convincing clean sheet in that victory.

Philadelphia Union possible starting lineup:
Blake; Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner; Bedoya, Flach, Monteiro; Fontana; Przybylko, Santos

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Bush; Afful, Jonathan, Williams, Santos; Fraser, Nagbe; Etienne, Zelarayan, Matan; Zardes


SM words green background

We say: Philadelphia Union 1-1 Columbus Crew

With both sides coming into the game in strong runs of form, this could definitely go either way, and we cannot quite split them on this occasion.

Both teams have shown themselves to be solid defensively, which we see resulting in a low-scoring draw on Wednesday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Philadelphia vs Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union
17.6%
Draw
52.9%
Columbus Crew
29.4%
17
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Alejandro Bedoya pictured on August 5, 2019
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Saturday's key events


ROWING
· Two-time Olympic gold medallist and comeback queen Helen Glover teams up with Polly Swan in the heats of the women's pair (12.30am-4.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Two-time Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock leads Team GB's charge in the men's qualification, while Rhys McClenaghan flies the flag for Ireland (2am-2pm)

SHOOTING
· The first gold medal of the Games will be awarded in the Air Rifle women's final (from 2.45am)

CYCLING
· The men's road race should be a wide-open thriller, with Team GB among those going for gold (3am-10am)

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· Team GB's women try to make it two wins from two against hosts Japan (11.30am)
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· World champions USA look to bounce back from a shock opening defeat against New Zealand (12.30pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England1593328181030
2Orlando City147432314925
3Nashville SCNashville145812114723
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia156541915423
5CF MontrealMontreal146441916322
6Columbus Crew145631512321
7New York City FCNY City136252115620
8New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls135351816218
9DC United145272018217
10Atlanta UnitedAtlanta142841417-314
11FC CincinnatiCincinnati133461726-913
12Chicago Fire143381625-912
13Toronto142481831-1310
14Inter MiamiInter Miami12228922-138

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England1593328181030
2Orlando City147432314925
3Nashville SCNashville145812114723
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia156541915423
5CF MontrealMontreal146441916322
6Columbus Crew145631512321
7New York City FCNY City136252115620
8New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls135351816218
9DC United145272018217
10Atlanta UnitedAtlanta142841417-314
11FC CincinnatiCincinnati133461726-913
12Chicago Fire143381625-912
13Toronto142481831-1310
14Inter MiamiInter Miami12228922-138

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