On paper, the Union should have an easy time against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.

But nothing is easy for the Union these days. Although they won the two previous games this year against Columbus, the Crew are playing much better, and last year's MLS Cup finalist is trying to sneak back into the Major League Soccer playoff picture.

So the visiting Union are not likely to take Columbus lightly.

The Union (9-9-7, 34 points) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, in which the top six teams make the playoffs.

Columbus (4-8-11, 23 points) is 1-1-4 in its last six games.

"Everybody says they are struggling, but they are a really good team," Union coach Jim Curtin said.

That wasn't just coach-speak.

While the Crew have struggled, as their record suggests, they have an 11-match unbeaten streak at home, going 3-0-8 since losing to the Union, 2-1, in their home opener on March 12.

Plus, Columbus has plenty to play for. The Crew are just five points behind sixth-place D.C. United with a game in hand.

On the other hand, the Union are just 1-3-2 in their last six MLS games following Saturday's 3-1 loss to visiting Toronto FC.

The lone win in the last six games was 4-0 at New England against a Revolution team that Columbus just beat, 2-0, on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.

After being outclassed by Toronto, the Union are glad to get back on the field so quickly.

"I think we have been a team that puts results behind us when they do not go our way, and we bounce back well. So yeah, I think we are looking forward to Wednesday," said Union outside back Keegan Rosenberry.

Wednesday's will be the final midweek game of the regular season for the Union. Their remaining eight games will be either on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Curtin said fatigue with the midweek game won't be a factor.

"This is the point of the year when guys are 90 minutes fit," Curtin said. "They will be ready to go and itching to get a bad taste out of their mouth after the Toronto game."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard