This weekend, Columbus Crew SC hosts the Philadelphia Union in what is to-date the most important match of the season, with Saturday’s implications reaching beyond momentum building and into the realm of post-season clinching.
It’s 1) an opportunity (with a little help) to clinch a spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs; 2) a potential playoff preview given the current fourth- and fifth-place standings for Crew SC and Philadelphia, respectively; and 3) a solid opportunity – according to this season’s trend – to continue Columbus’ late-season momentum heading into a two-game road stretch in October.
With that in mind, let’s review the opponent at hand – Philadelphia – and take a brief glimpse at what is needed for Black & Gold supporters to be celebrating a playoff-clinching night.
Current record: 14-12-4 (46 pts.)
Eastern Conference standing: 5th
Most recent match: 3-0 loss at Houston Dynamo (U.S. Open Cup Final)
Previous match vs. Columbus: 1-0 loss at MAPFRE Stadium (May 9, 2018)
All-time vs. Columbus: 8-12-2
Last 5 matches: WWDLWW
Away record: 6-7-2
Players to watch: Borek Dockal (15 assists, 5 goals), Fafa Picault (8 goals, 4 assists)
Numbers to Know:
6: The number of games Philadelphia is playing in a 21-day stretch, with Crew SC representing the fifth match in 15 days. Through four games, including Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup Final at Houston, the Union are 2-2, but have won two straight in League play, including a 1-0 road victory at Seattle on Sept. 19. With five Open Cup matches this season along with a brutal end-of-season stretch, it will be interesting to see if Philadelphia can keep up their recent pace, particularly with Crew SC being consistent in close-game situations, having won 10 games by a one-goal differential compared to Philadelphia’s five.
2: The number of times Philadelphia has defeated Crew SC in the teams’ final meeting of the regular season during the Gregg Berhalter era. Overall, Columbus is 7-5-1 against the Union since 2014, and has outshot Philadelphia by a combined 27-14 in the last two match-ups.
40:44: The average time of Philadelphia’s first goal scored.
37:42: The average time of Philadelphia first goal conceded.
8-1-2: Crew SC’s home record when scoring the first goal.
1-7-1: Philadelphia’s record on the road when conceding the first goal.
With a Little Help from our Friends, D.C. United:
It’s simple – a Columbus win over Philadelphia AND a D.C. United win over the Montreal Impact sends the Black & Gold into the postseason for the second consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years.
As for #DCUvMTL, both sides drew 1-1 at Stade Saputo on Aug. 4, while D.C. is 8-2-2 at home this season and 7-2-1 since opening Audi Field. D.C. is 2-0-2 in their last four matches overall, while Montreal, which is 2-1-1 since Aug. 25.
Be sure to come out to MAPFRE Stadium to witness a potential playoff-clinching win and celebrate the official 10-year anniversary of the 2008 MLS Cup championship team as part of the evening's festivities.