Union hoping to start "new season" against Crew

The Philadelphia Union would like to start a new season beginning on Saturday when the club hosts the Columbus Crew at PPL Park.

The Union lost its first three games of the campaign before a 0-0 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC handed Peter Nowak's side its first point two weeks ago.

But with a week off goalkeeper Zac MacMath is hoping his side returns to action with a new focus and a determination to get the season back on track.

"That's the plan," MacMath told MLSsoccer.com when asked about the time off. "That's what we all hope for. Hopefully, we can take this extended break and refocus and try to start this as a new season."

With just two goals in its first four games Philadelphia will be hoping to return from its break in better goalscoring form, particularly forward Lionard Pajoy, who has big shoes to fill with the departure of forward Sebastien Le Toux this offseason.

Nowak will also be hoping that the return of defender Danny Califf to the back line yields similar results to the scoreless draw with the Whitecaps as the Union didn't allow the Canadian side to record a shot on goal.

Columbus might be wishing it had last weekend off as well as the Crew sustained a heavy 4-1 home defeat against Red Bull York, snapping a two-game winning streak for the club.

"It was obviously a very, very disappointing game for us playing here at home in front of a great crowd," said Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven. "Playing the way that we did, there's not too much we can say. We just have to work this week and try to make it better. That's pretty much the only thing we can do at this point. We can't pout. We can't hang our heads. We have to keep working to make it better."

Columbus fell behind early and was never able to recover as New York jumped out to a 3-0 lead at halftime on its way to a comfortable win.

"We didn't come out with any energy. We just came out flat," said defender Chad Marshall. "We didn't match their intensity. We didn't get pressure on them at all. They could do whatever they wanted to and we had nothing going offensively. It was the perfect storm of things against us."

There was more bad news for the Crew on Friday as it was revealed that the club will be without goalkeeper Will Hesmer and forward Tommy Heinemann for an extended period of time.

Both players have undergone microfracture surgery with Hesmer expected to miss six months with a hip injury while Heinemann had the procedure performed on his knee and will require 9-12 months out.