Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union
2017 MLS Match Preview
MAPFRE Stadium – Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, July 22 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
There is little doubt that Columbus Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram has had an All-Star caliber season. The 28-year-old Michigan native has eight goals and six assists in 20 games played, with the eight goals already matching his career high and the six assists being the second-highest total he's had in his career. His .81 non-penalty goals plus assists per 90 minute average is good for 12th best in MLS. Despite all of that, Meram was not selected for the MLS All-Star team on Tuesday.
It's pretty obvious that he was not too happy with that fact.
If only the name was Justinho....— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) July 18, 2017
The attackers selected ahead of him by Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic were Giovani dos Santos, Ignacio Piatti and Diego Valeri. Only one of those three (Valeri) has more combined goals and assists than Meram. When he steps on the field against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, Meram will be looking to show why he should have been one of the 24 players selected.
Columbus Crew SC
Meram wasn't the only who was surprised by his exclusion. When asked about it, Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter said the decision to not include his player on the All-Star team was "hard to understand."
Berhalter has been tinkering with his lineup recently, as his team played in a 3-4-3 formation in their last MLS match against Minnesota United FC. They came out with a 1-0 win in Minnesota and they trotted out the same formation in their 1-0 friendly win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday. This of course comes after the team has played in a 4-2-3-1 for the better part of four seasons. We'll see how Berhalter decides to utilize Meram on Saturday night.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: D Gaston Sauro (left PCL surgery), M Ben Swanson (right ankle surgery), M Federico Higuain (right knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: M Niko Hansen (hernia surgery), D Nicolai Naess (left ankle injury)
Projected Starting XI (3-4-3): GK: Zack Steffen – Jonathan Mensah, Alex Crognale, Lalas Abubakar – Hector Jimenez, Mohammed Abu, Wil Trapp, Jukka Raitala – Ethan Finlay, Ola Kamara, Justin Meram
Notes: Crew SC’s 2-0 loss on July 1st to Atlanta marked the first time in their last 19 home games that they were shut out. They have not been held scoreless in consecutive home league matches since Oct. 5-27, 2013.
The Union also did not have any player selected to the All-Star team, despite having a US national team regular on the roster and last season's Goalkeeper of the Year. Alejandro Bedoya could return to the lineup against Crew SC, after he was dropped from Bruce Arena's Gold Cup roster following the group stage. The reason being that the midfielder wanted to be their for his daughter's birth. Andre Blake will not be playing for the Union, as he is still with Jamaica as they will be playing Mexico in the Gold Cup semifinals on Sunday.
Bedoya's possible return could boost a team that is coming off of a 2-1 loss in Montreal on Wednesday night. They currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, six points behind sixth-placed Orlando City SC with a game in hand. A road win against a team above in them in the standings would be a boon for a team looking to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
- Suspended: M Roland Alberg (Disciplinary Committee)
- Int’l Duty: M Chris Pontius (USA), GK Andre Blake (Jamaica)
- Injury Report: OUT: M Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery), F Fabian Herbers (sports hernia surgery recovery), M Derrick Jones (concussion); QUESIONABLE: D Raymond Gaddis (left hamstring strain), Fafa Picault (left hamstring strain), CJ Sapong (right ankle sprain)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): GK: John McCarty — Raymon Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Oguchi Onyewu, Fabinho — Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin — Ilsinho, Adam Najem, Fafa Picault — CJ Sapong
Notes: Following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in Montreal, Philadelphia have now lost three of their last four MLS road games, and won only once in nine overall road games this season (5L-3D).
- Overall: Columbus lead 10-7-1
- At Columbus: Columbus lead 5-4-0
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere, Eric Boria
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos