Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prediction: Crew v. Union

The Crew travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union for another mid-week matchup. Wednesday, August 28th, 2012. 8:00 PM EST.

• Two consecutive wins for the Crew have lightened the playoff weight a bit for the club but they still need around 18 points from remaining 10 games.
• Crew have 2 players in outstanding form, Federico Hiquain and Jairo Arrieta. It will be the first 90 minute Away test for them playing together.
• Philadelphia not mathematically eliminated from playoffs but they are likely out.
• PHI recent Home form very good. Last 6 matches at PPL: 12 goals for and only 4 against. 4 W, 1 D, 1 L
• Last time these two met in Philly was April 4th 2012. It was an early season hack fest (I couldn't even finish the game recap) that PHI ended up winning 1:0... also featured Chad Marshall blessing out the ref right next to a live microphone after the match.

The betting lines are a little mixed for this one with a slight lean PHI. Bet365 has tilt towards PHI 13/10 (fav), 9/4 (draw), 21/10 Crew. None of it looks all that convincing though.

The fan voting over at WinDrawWin is heavy on the Crew. 45% win, with 25% responding Draw. That’s a 70% vote that the Crew should pull at least a point. This is a little unusual.

Columbus is in the middle of a favorable stretch of games against below average teams. Philly, especially at home, is a better side then both Toronto and New England but only just. Even though they surged mid-season, they are also a club trying to find themselves since the ugly divorce with Piotr Nowak earlier this year.

A mid-week matchup is probably the best way to face the Union at home but the Crew are in the middle of a crowded schedule. I have already called this one a draw (I’ve already called the next 5 games) and I’ll stick to that. 1:1 is how I think it will fall tomorrow night.

Some concerns going into this one for the Crew are the switch back to the diamond midfield. I’m fully confident that Danny O’Rourke can play that spot but at what cost? That formation also calls for the right and left backs to turn into wing backs, which is a lot of running for both Josh Williams and Sebastian Miranda.

If the Crew wants to stick with the 4-1-3-2 and Vukovic is ready to go at LB, I think they should move Williams to the middle (to replace the injured Mendes) alongside Marshall. Also, with this formation, I would like to see Eddie Gaven or Higuain in the CAM roll over Mirosevic (too many goals against when he plays that position in this formation). It might be a good idea for the Crew to go to the 4-2-3-1 primary.

Still, no matter how I slice the lineup, it is a very winnable game for Columbus. The schedule gets slightly harder after this one and with the Crew still needing about 5 wins in the remaining 10 - they should definitely go for this one.

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