After a couple weeks off, the U are back in action this afternoon against the Columbus Crew at Talen Energy Stadium. Check back here for live updates and share your thoughts in the comments.
Four o’clock is kind of late for a Saturday afternoon nap, but I sure could go for one now after watching that scoreless draw with Columbus Crew.
Neither goalkeeper was troubled much but both Andre Blake and Downingtown, Pa. native and former FC Delco standout Zack Steffen pick up clean sheets and both teams go into the international break unbeaten.
It’s also worth noting that the Union’s young center back pair of 19-year-old Auston Trusty and 22-year-old Jack Elliott have anchored a back line that hasn’t conceded a goal in the first 180 minutes of the season.
Homegrown midfielder Anthony Fontana checks in for Borek Dockal in the 77th minute for his second MLS appearance after scoring a goal in his debut against New England Revolution. Dockal had a decent debut in a Union jersey but it wasn’t anything spectacular. Having two more weeks for him to train with his new teammates before their next game should serve everyone well.
Cory Burke is in for Fabian Herbers out wide. It’s the second appearance off the bench for the Jamaican international who was signed from Bethlehem Steel in the off-season. He had an assist on CJ Sapong’s goal against New England Revolution.
Ray Gaddis in at left back for the injured Fabinho to start the second half. Fabinho will be evaluated after the match. It’s worth noting that homegrown left back Matt Real (who isn’t in the 18 today) is projected to start for Bethlehem Steel FC tomorrow and is leaving Monday for United States U20 duty in Spain.
Scoreless at the Half
Afful was left wide open on a corner kick late in the half but he didn’t get much on the bouncing shot easily saved by Andre Blake. Earlier Trusty blocked a shot attempt from Santos after he was all alone on the right side of the box from a pass that split two Union defenders.
The best chance for the Union in the final 15 minutes of the half began with a nice step from Fabinho to pick off a pass and get the ball to Accam, who fed it to Bedoya in the box. The ball got away from Bedoya a bit so he couldn’t pull the trigger and after dancing around with it ran out of space and the play broke down.
The Union finished the half with 56 percent of possession and both teams were an even 4-4 on shots with each team getting one shot on target. The score line is well deserved at this point.
Half Hour In
It’s scoreless a half hour into the match. The Union have looked the more threatening side, but Gyassi Zardes had a chance off a turnover in the Union’s final third that could have put the visitors up had his shot not gone far wide of the target.
Borek Dockal has had some positive combination play, including a play where Keegan Rosenberry crossed the ball to the feet of CJ Sapong and feeling two defenders behind him left it off to Dockal for a one-time shot that went over the bar.
Borek with the corner... pic.twitter.com/YxlRR9Z1yk— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) March 17, 2018
MLS Live Fail
We are aware of the technical difficulties with @MLS Live's broadcast of #PHIvCLB and MLS is working to quickly repair the issue.— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) March 17, 2018
Follow along with the Live Audio Stream at https://t.co/ReXz0lSFnf#CrewSC
Ryan Bross gave us some behind the scenes info on today’s masterpiece referencing Jaws, Philly slang, cheesesteaks and #SaveTheCrew.
Borek Dockal gets the start. The Czech Republic international was acquired on a one-year loan deal from the Chinese Super League ahead of the season opener but was nursing an ankle injury.
Anthony Fontana moves to the bench, where he’ll likely sub in for Dockal some time after the hour mark. Eric Ayuk is the only change to the 18. Ayuk was an unused sub in the 2-0 win over New England Revolution.
Patrick Murphy at Massive Report notes that this is Jon Kempin’s first appearance on the Crew bench and that Adam Jahn is not in the 18 despite not being on the injury report. He also notes that Niko Hansen played up top in a scrimmage last week.
How to watch:
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA
When: 2 p.m. EDT, March 17, 2018
TV: 6abc, CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports OH, BCSN2
Streaming: MLS Live