Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Union shoot for MLS' best record vs. Crew

Field Level Media
01 Nov 2020, 04:19 GMT+10

Philadelphia can secure the best record in Major League Soccer with a victory at the Columbus Crew on Sunday but will try to do so without goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Blake, who is second in MLS with eight shutouts, fractured his right hand during the Union's 2-1 victory against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday.

The Union (13-3-5, 44 points) have regular-season matches remaining vs. the Crew (10-5-5, 35 points) at Mapfre Stadium and home to New England on Nov. 8.

"The hope is, if things go well, there is a possibility that it is not a season-ending injury," Union coach Jim Curtin said Friday.

Joe Bendik, with 177 career MLS games, replaces Blake.

"Everybody has chipped in at different points of this year," Curtin said. "We're going to need that now as we move into our final two games against two really good opponents."

Philadelphia, winners of three straight and 5-0-1 in the past six games, clinches the Supporters' Shield (overall champion) with a win and a Toronto FC loss or tie vs. Miami CF. The Union also clinch with a tie, a Toronto loss and a Seattle defeat or tie vs. Colorado.

Columbus defeated visiting Philadelphia 1-0 on Sept. 2.

"They're the best team in the league right now, and obviously, we had a good result against them last time, but I think they're a bit better than they were last time as well," Crew coach Caleb Porter said.

The Crew led the Eastern Conference by five points through 13 matches but are 1-4-2 in the past seven games to fall into a third-place tie with Orlando City in the Eastern Conference with three games left.

Columbus has struggled because of injuries but could have Gyasi Zardes (11 goals) back after missing two games. Also, midfielders Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe are returning to form after long absences.

"I think it's going to be a perfect game to get us ready for the playoffs," Porter said.

--Field Level Media

More California News

Access More

Sign up for California State News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!