In the last road match of the season, the Philadelphia Union (16-9-7. 55 Pts, 2nd Place, Eastern Conference) visited the eliminated Columbus Crew SC (9-15-8, 35 Pts, 11th Place).
Life on the road, and the third game in eight days seemed to be taking its toll, as the Union except for a few moments to start the second half, were never really in this match, falling 2-Nil.
Columbus Crew SC Starting XI: 4,3,3
GK Eloy Room; Ds Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Connor Maloney; MFs David Guzmán, Wil Trapp (C), Artur; Fs Luis Díaz, Gyasi Zardes, Pedro Santos
Union Starting XI: 4,2,3,1
GK Andre Blake; Ds Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Brenden Aaronson, Jamiro Monteiro, Fs Fafa Picault, Kacper Przybylko
There is not much to be said about the first 45’+ of play.
It was a sloppy affair with both teams not connecting well on passes, and neither with a serious chance to score. Columbus did out-shoot the U, 5-2, with them being the only ones to get shots on target, two, but they were both easy saves for Blake. The U barely won the battle of TOP 54.5 – 45.5.
Possibly of the most import, Bedoya went down with a non-contact injury around the 43′ and had to leave the game. The Union reported it as a right quad strain. FTR Medunjanin became the Captain.
From the start after a lengthy severe weather delay, the Union looked like a different team, on a mission to score. They kept pressing and their best chance came in the 64′ when Monteiro had the ball right on his foot in front of the goal and skipped it over the crossbar.
Eventually though, fatigue from the season, and the last three days, showed when they got caught pressing too much.
The Crew on a great counterattack, featuring the crispest passing we saw from either side the whole game, set up a shot in which Blake had no chance. It would be the first MLS G for Youness Mokhtar who had been subbed in. 69′
Three minutes later, Columbus shut the door. As the Crew controlled play at one point, all of their players were front of Blake, as Pedro Santos (11) blasted it right through them. Every Union defender was on the outside looking in.
The game got chippier by the minute, and cards were flying, could have been more, but the U had nothing left, and the final was 2-Nil.
Columbus Crew SC Cards:
Przybylko 90′ +1′
Columbus Crew SC Subs:
Youness Mokhtar for Guzmán
Aboubacar Keita for Williams 60′
Jordan Hamilton for Zardes 87′
Warren Creavalle for Bedoya, injury 44′
Ilsinho for Aaronson 60′
Marco Fabián in for Fafa 77′
As it unfolded, this loss may easily have felt worse to the phans watching, than the players playing, because we could see minute by minute the opportunity that was being given to the Union. They could not see that the Union’s next opponent, NYCFC, had lost, and that Atlanta United FC, had drawn and pulled ahead of the U on number of Ws. I am sure once the players see the chance they lost, it will really hurt.
As the standings show below, the U can’t go below 3rd place – which would still give them, at least one home playoff match.
They can still take back 2nd place with a W and an ATL draw or an L, or with a draw and an Atlanta L. Atlanta hosts New England Revolution, who clinched the last playoff spot with the W over NYCFC, and could still move up to 6th place.
We will see it all come to fruition starting at 4:00 PM EDT on MLS Decision Day.
The regular season comes to an end when NYCFC comes to Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday 10/6/19 4:00 PM PHL17, Fan Appreciation Day
NYCFC is locked into 1st place, and they have no shot at the Supporters Shield. so it will be interesting to see who they bring to Chester with them.