PREVIEW | Crew SC cruises into Philadelphia with perfect 2018 record

Riding into Week 3 of the Major League Soccer regular season as one of just four perfect sides, Columbus Crew SC visits a side it has beaten only once in the last five meetings: The Philadelphia Union. The Saturday matinee matchup (2 p.m. ET) at Talen Energy Stadium will undoubtedly provide a punch — the sides have combined to score seven goals in three matches in 2018 and only one of the previous five head-to-head meetings produced less than two goals.

— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) March 11, 2018

Gyasi Zardes and Federico Higuain have proven a poised and potent partnership, scoring all five of Crew SC's goals. Against Montreal in Week 2, Higuain opened with a penalty kick conversion before Zardes scored off a set piece and a stoppage-time winner from the spot. Before joining Columbus and scoring three goals in two matches, Zardes scored just two goals across his previous 28 MLS matches.

Higuain is teetering on the edge of MLS's elite 50-goals, 50-assists club. With just one more assist, the 32-year-old Argentine will become the 19th member of the exclusive attacking association. He'd be just the third Crew SC player to do so, joining Brian McBride (80 goals, 52 assists) and Jeff Cunningham (134, 70).

The Union enter Saturday as hosts for the second consecutive match, although those matches sandwiched a Week 2 bye. The showdown with Crew SC will illustrate whether the rest was welcome or a momentum killer. In Week 1, Philadelphia Homegrown Player Alex Fontana and stalwart C.J. Sapong scored to dispatch the rebuilt New England Revolution, 2-0.

Crew SC are unbeaten in the last six regular-season road games (2 wins-4 draws) entering Philadelphia. Saturday's 2 p.m. ET kickoff will see if that streak will continue to seven matches or be cut short. The Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium for a March 24 clash against D.C. United at 6 p.m. ET.

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