After a 2-1 defeat on the road in Portland, Crew SC returns to Columbus for its home opener against the Philadelphia Union. The Black & Gold are looking to take their first three points of the 2016 season and continue their winning ways against the Union, after claiming five of their last six matches against Philadelphia.
Leading up to Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff at MAPFRE Stadium, here are three things to know about the Union:
1. New Faces in Season Opener
In their opening match of 2016, Philadelphia fell to FC Dallas 2-0, with a lineup that featured seven new players, including four MLS newcomers, three of whom played in the backline. FC Dallas dominated a short-handed Union side that was missing two of its key players in Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta. Dallas fired 10 of 17 total shots on frame and racked up eight corners, but Union ‘keeper Andre Blake had an outstanding match keeping his side in the game with eight saves.
2. Edu Sidelined Long-Term
The Union announced on Wednesday that midfielder Maurice Edu will be out for three to four months with a stress fracture in his left leg. The former United States international missed Philadelphia’s season-opener with what was thought to be a stress reaction, but recently Head Coach Jim Curtin said that the injury was much more significant. “It’s a big blow to a lot of the foundation that we planned to do this year in terms of having him at the No. 6 role,” he said.
3. Woes in Columbus
Since joining the League in 2010, the Union have never won at MAPFRE Stadium (0-6-1). In that span, Philadelphia has conceded 17 goals to Columbus, while Jim Curtin’s side has only managed to score eight times. Overall, the Union are 4-10-1 against Crew SC. One of their four wins came last season when Philly defeated Columbus 3-0 at Talen Energy Stadium. The result will surely be a reminder for Crew SC that the Union are a team not to be underestimated.