- The River End
- ⚽️ Is This How Third Place Should Feel?
⚽️ Is This How Third Place Should Feel?
+ Columbus Not the Same Crew From February
Photo by Carl Gulbish
Saturday, Sept. 30 at Columbus Crew
Start time: 7:39 p.m.
Where to watch: Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Injuries: Union: [Player: Injury— Status] [Opponent]: [Player: Injury— Status]
Line: Columbus -125 | Draw +290 | Union +275
Matches To Monitor: Orlando City vs CF Montreal, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Good morning. The Union aren’t losing but they also aren’t winning either. Now they head to Columbus with a chance to reassert themselves as the team to the beat in the East.
In the email today:
1) 🍂 Is This How Third Place Should Feel?
The Union are in third place with four games left in the season but after four straight draws it doesn’t exactly feel like it.
This time last year the Union were riding a four-game win streak heading into their 31st game with 10 wins in their last 12. One big difference is they were healthy and didn’t have the weight of so many games weighing heavy on their legs.
The Union had one additional game in the 2022 season outside of regular season play, a U.S. Open Cup loss to Orlando.
The Union have played 14 additional games in 2023: 1 U.S. Open Cup, 6 Champions League and 7 Leagues Cup for a total of 44 games.
Jim Curtin post-game Wednesday: “As bad as it hurts guys, we sit in third place a point out of second and kind of control our own destiny.”
Our take: The word “meh” has been described a lot in recent weeks to describe the Union and it’s understandable given their form last season en route to making an MLS Cup final. But as we all know following sports, “meh” at the end of the season doesn’t always translate to “meh” in the playoffs. Despite the negativity right now this team still has what it takes to make a run. Four straight draws could win MLS Cup.
2)👷 Columbus Not the Same Crew From February
With the aid of a couple handballs, the Philadelphia Union easily defeated the Crew when they came to town way back on February 25.
That game marked the debut of head coach Wilfred Nancy, who has the team in position for a top four finish currently just one point behind the Union.
Lucas Zelarayan is gone (yay!) but his replacement is Diego Rossi (boo!).
Cucho Hernandez is lighting it up this season with 13 goals and 11 assists.
Oh yeah they also have Christian Ramirez (8 goals, 4 assists)
The Crew didn’t play midweek so they’ll be at home on full rest.
Our take: The Crew rivalry doesn’t have quite the billing that the Red Bulls, DC United, NYCFC or even FC Cincinnati has now but this game has potentially huge ramifications and should resemble a playoff atmosphere.
3) 📺 Meme of the Day: VAR Rules
4) 💧 Water Cooler: Union Mood
What Word/Phrase Describes Your Union Mood Right Now?
Have additional thoughts? Reply directly to this email to comment, and see if we include your response tomorrow.
Results from our last poll Most Disappointing Thing About the Union This Season:
5) 🔗 Link Roundup:
🏆 Middletown, Pa. native and former FC Delco star Ben Olsen has another trophy in his cabinet after leading Houston Dynamo to the U.S. Open Cup championship on Wednesday. Olsen has won it once as a player and now twice as a head coach.
🐐 When Bayern Munich players were asked what retired player they would most liked to have played with, you just had to know someone was going to say Messi.
While the 2023 U.S. Open Cup winner was just crowned, qualifying for the 2024 competition is already underway. A couple local games are on tap this weekend in the second round of qualifying.
6) 🏟️ Gamewatches
The newsletter today was written by: Matt Ralph @MattRalph_
Thanks for reading!