Preview: Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew set to battle for top five finish

Photo: Gary Wilpizeski

Philadelphia Union host Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference crunch match as both teams chase a top-five finish for a place in the playoffs.

It’s quite simply a crucial encounter that could go a long way to deciding the fate for both teams.

Columbus Crew are sitting in 5th position, 3 points ahead of the chasing pack on 43 points which is led by Toronto on 40 points and closely followed by Philadelphia on 39 points – who they face tonight.

Philadelphia are in a fairly poor run of form with no win in 4 games and they’ve only scored 3 goals in that time.

With that said, they’ve only conceded 4 goals at the other end, and they will hope home advantage can see them close in on the Crew with just a couple of games remaining after tonight’s encounter.

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Their home form is a key factor because they haven’t lost at home for 9 games. In fact, they have only lost 2 home games all season, and Columbus will have to work hard if they are to leave with all three points.

Philadelphia Union’s home form: Played 15 – Won 5 – Drawn 8 – Lost 2

Columbus Crew have lost just 1 of their last 5 games which came in a narrow defeat to New England.

With three clean sheets in that time, they will prove a tough nut to crack at the back.

However, Philadelphia’s strength at home is made more encouraging by Columbus’ poor away form.

They have picked up just three wins from 15 games on the road and two of those wins came from their first two away games of the season.

Since then, they have managed just one away victory in 13 attempts, so it’s a trend they are going to have to break if they want to pick up all three points here.

The Crew released their new image this week with the new badge, and a win tonight would all but guarantee a playoff position, which would end a big week on a major high.

Columbus Crew’s away form: Played 15 – Won 3 – Drawn 6 – Lost 6

Key player: Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew) – The solid centre-back has been at the heart of the Crew’s defence all season. Columbus have the 4th best defensive record across both conferences this season. His performance could be key to Columbus getting a result on Saturday.

Key stat: Philadelphia Union have not won a game when they have the conceded the first goal this season.

Prediction: Philadelphia 2 – 2 Columbus Crew

About Ben Ashton (226 Articles)
MLS and Premier League reporter. Sub-editor and writer for All views are my own.

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