After two weeks off, the Philadelphia Union, welcome the still in Columbus Crew SC to the first matinee of 2018. The Union hope that the week off will have helped them get their newest player, Borek Dockal, on to the pitch.
Union/Crew Series History:
The teams have played 20 times with Columbus holding a 11 – 8 advantage and one draw. At Talen Energy Stadium, the U edge the Crew 6-4. Their last meeting was a 3-0 win by the U at home on 7/27/17.
Last Time Out:
Columbus which has a regular-season unbeaten streak of 12 matches, including their last 6 regular season road games, beat the Montreal Impact 3-2 at home. Philadelphia, also at home, easily won their opener 2- Nil over the New England Revolution.
Yes it is a small sample size and some teams including Columbus have played two matches, but the Crew have scorers tied for first (3 G) and second (2G) in Gyasi Zardes and Federico Higuain, respectively. Higuain is fourth on the Columbus all-time scoring list with 50 G, and second with 49 A.
As noted at the top the Union hope to get their late off-season acquisition Borek Dockal into the match at some point.
“He’s had his best two days of training, and they’ve been his last two days. We’re happy with where he’s at, the ankle is fully healed. It’ll be a matter of deciding the minute load,” Head Coach Jim Curtin said on Wednesday. “He’ll play a role in this game that is a 100 percent certain barring an injury or something. He’ll play a role one way or the other in this match. Is it a starter, is it a reserve that is still to be determined. Anthony (Fontana) has been sharp as well so that’ll be a tough decision to make.
One player who will not suit up is Fafa Picault, with three games left on his suspension.
The other big news, not necessarily having an impact on this match, was the signing of C. J. Sapong to a longer term deal through 2019, with a club option for 2020. His contract was due to end at the end of this season.
“A striker that means so much to our club, and what we’re about,” Curtin said. “He’s a key attacking piece for us, but also the first line of defense for our team. A guy who’s done everything for the badge, and it’s been a pleasure to work with him and watch him grow and take his game to another level.”
In honor of that we give you:
The Crew streak has to end somewhere, and the infusion of youth we saw on display last week, with the addition of Dockal, in front of a sure to be frenzied St Patrick’s Day Sons Of O’Ben powered crowd, gives the edge to the Philadelphia Union, 2-1.