Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew – MLS, June 23, 2021
Major League Soccer’s midweek schedule dishes up a tasty clash between the 2020 Supporters’ Shield winners and the defending MLS Cup champions on Wednesday, June 23.
If you cast your mind back to the opening weekend of the 2021 season, you may remember that Philadelphia and Columbus produced a goalless draw in April. The two sides now find themselves just a point apart in the Eastern Conference, with third-place Philly leading fourth-place Columbus.
I discuss the odds before providing my Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew prediction and best bets in this betting preview. But first, let’s take a quick look at the players who could decide Wednesday’s match.
- Philadelphia’s Key Player – Kacper Przybylko: The Polish striker has bagged eight goals and three assists in all competitions this season, including three goals in his last five MLS games.
- The Crew’s Key Player – Lucas Zelarayan: With four goals and two assists to his name this year, the Argentine DP is set to cause Philly plenty of problems.
Match Preview for Philadelphia vs. Columbus
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Philadelphia endured a poor start to the 2021 MLS season. In fact, Jim Curtin’s men only managed to take one point from their opening three matches – drawing with Columbus on the opening weekend.
But following back-to-back losses to Inter Miami and New York City, the Union has been unstoppable.
The reigning Supporters’ Shield champs have picked up four wins and two draws in their last six games, beating Chicago, RBNY, DC United, and Portland in the process. Better yet, they have achieved four shutouts in their previous six outings.
It looked as though Philly was heading for defeat on Sunday, but Jakob Glesnes netted a phenomenal 93rd-minute equalizer to rescue a 2-2 draw against Atlanta. The Norwegian’s screamer HAS to be a Goal of the Year contender.
Sunday’s draw would have felt like a win for the U. It goes without saying that Curtin’s men will be full of confidence after extending their unbeaten streak to six matches.
Just like Philadelphia, Columbus struggled to find their feet during the early stages of the campaign. The 2020 MLS Cup winners claimed just a single win in their first five MLS games this year, recording two draws and two losses along the way.
However, the Crew now heads into Wednesday’s clash on a three-match winning streak.
Caleb Porter’s men kicked off their resurgent run with a 2-1 victory over NYCFC before beating Toronto by the same scoreline the following weekend. Last time out, they cruised past Chicago 2-0 – notching their third clean sheet of the season.
Gyasi Zardes bagged a brace against the Fire, meaning he has netted three goals in his last two appearances. If Zardes can continue to find the back of the net regularly, Columbus’ upturn is bound to carry on.
Philadelphia vs. Columbus Odds and Betting Picks
All the online sportsbooks are favoring Philly here. But in my eyes, the price for the home win offers very little value. Both sides come into this game on impressive unbeaten streaks, pointing towards a tight and tense encounter.
With that in mind, the draw bet is my Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew prediction. Let’s not forget that Philly and Columbus produced a goalless draw a couple of months back.
- Pick: The Draw – 3.45
I also recommend backing under 2.5 goals for this match. Not only do Porter’s men boast the best defensive record in the East, but they are also the fourth-lowest scorers in the conference.
It is also worth noting that Philly has only conceded one goal more than Columbus this season, making it unlikely that more than three goals will be scored on Wednesday.
- Bonus Pick: Under 2.5 Goals – 1.80