The Union, winners of the first two meetings, have a chance to sweep their conference foes and pick up three precious points.
If ever there was a time to cash in and take points from a team that’s at the bottom of the table, now is it. The Union, who sit in fourth place on 34 points and six points clear of the red line, still need a few more wins to qualify for the playoffs comfortably. This Wednesday, they face the lowly Crew who sit in ninth in the East, just one point above the moribund Chicago Fire.
The Union have won the only two meetings this year: they won 2-1 in Columbus thanks to a Chris Pontius brace on March 12th, and then won 3-2 due to a magnificent curler by Fabian Herbers in Chester on June 1st. The U however are coming off of that 3-1 beating by Toronto FC, and questions about the back line are very much a part of the team’s story right now. Meanwhile, Columbus found someone they can beat in New England, who they vanquished 2-0 last week thanks in part to Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain, who both tallied.
I would expect Joshua Yaro to get the start on Wednesday. Ken Tribbett has been a nice story but hasn’t been good over the last month or so, and could have easily been replaced well before the start of the second half on last Saturday with the Union already down 3-1. Not having Vincent Nogueira to do defensive work at the 8 was part of the problem, but Tribbett’s decision making hasn’t been good either.
First XI: Fabinho, Marquez, Yaro, Rosenberry; Creavalle, Bedoya; Pontius, Barnetta, Ilsinho (if he can go); Sapong
Prediction: the Union reach down deep, put the Toronto match behind them, and pull out another win in Columbus as Alejandro Bedoya opens his Union account. Union 2, Crew 1