There comes a time in every season when a team either makes it or breaks it. Even the worst teams face a watershed moment that can either reverse fate, or seal it completely. For the Philadelphia Union, the time is now.
Twice Philadelphia will face a Columbus crew team that lies just ahead of them in the standings. Columbus plays very well behind the ball, and will be difficult to break down. The key will be working chances off of the counter attack against the men in yellow, as the Union cannot allow Columbus to settle behind the ball. A strong attack steered by Will Trapp will look to pick apart a suspect Union defense; however, this could lead to prime counter attacking opportunities the Union must take.
This strategy may seem cautious, even cowardly. Yet it has proven to work in the past, and can shield weak defensive teams. Last week, England’s Tottenham Hotspur employed the same blueprint against North London rivals Arsenal. A Gunners team that boasted Messut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and a rejuvenated Danny Welbeck was held scoreless for much of the game. Spurs even took the lead in the second half, after Christian Eriksen won possession in the final third, and gave Nacer Chadli a chance on the right side of the box. Chadli scored, but with an absolutely clinical finish.
The Union will need to somehow ameliorate their scoring woes to effectively play on the counter. The counter attack will provide a few solid chances in the game. The strikers must find a way to score at least one, if not several of the fast-break chances. Only then can the Union protect the struggling defense, break down the fortress of Columbus.