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Union vs. Columbus Crew: How to watch, preview, projected lineups

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The Union return to action on Saturday afternoon.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After an odd two-week layoff, the Union are back in action on Saturday afternoon, when they will host Columbus Crew SC at Talen Energy Stadium.

Like the Union, Columbus is coming into this game with an unblemished record, but they’re doing so having played an extra game. The Crew notably blanked defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC north of the border, then returned home to see off Montreal Impact. While the Union admittedly dispatched a suffering New England side in their opener, they’ll face much sterner opposition in the Crew tomorrow.

Will Dočkal start?

Though Anthony Fontana got the nod in the opener, Bořek Dočkal was brought in to start. Jim Curtin confirmed that the attacking midfielder will play on Saturday, but whether he’ll be in the lineup or on the bench is yet to be seen. The bye week has certainly given him plenty of time to acclimate, but Fontana may have earned one last start before Dočkal fully settles into the role.

Gyasi’s renaissance

Years removed from his breakout 2014 season in which he scored 16 goals, Los Angeles Galaxy Homegrown Gyasi Zardes was shipped to Columbus in a deal that saw the prolific Ola Kamara head the other way. Zardes has quickly softened the blow dealt by Kamara’s departure, netting thrice in two games, already surpassing his goal total from 2017.

Though one of his goals was a penalty and another was a tap-in resulting from a set-piece, Zardes is leading a Columbus attack that has always rewarded its strikers. In the past three seasons, head coach Gregg Berhalter has gotten 22 goals out of Kei Kamara, a combined 21 goals from the two Kamaras, and 18 goals out of Ola Kamara. Though Justin Meram is gone, midfielders Pedro Santos and Federico Higuaín remain, and they’ll ensure that Zardes has quality service, just as the Kamaras did.

Projected lineups:

Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake; Fabinho, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; David Accam, Anthony Fontana, Fabian Herbers; CJ Sapong

Columbus Crew: Zack Steffen; Milton Valenzuela, Lalas Abubakar, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful; Wil Trapp, Artur; Pedro Santos, Federico Higuaín, Cristian Martínez; Gyasi Zardes

How to watch:

Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA

When: 2:00 PM EDT, March 17, 2018

TV: 6abc, CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports OH, BCSN2

Streaming: MLS Live