The Union beat the Columbus Crew FC for the third time this season to snag a crucial 3 points on the road.
The Union win with goals from Fabian Herbers and Keegan Rosenberry in the 2nd half. The defense and Andre Blake came up with a big performance to hold Columbus to one questionable goal.
Union Starting XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Yaro, Rosenberry; Creavalle, Bedoya; Pontius, Barnetta, Herbers; Sapong
Columbus starting XI: Clark; Jimenez, Naess, Parkhurst, Afful; Tchani, Trapp, Meran, Higuain, Finlay; Kamara
Joshua Yaro got the start over Ken Tribbett, who had a disasterous performance the previous match. An injured Ilsinho was replaced by Fabian Herbers on the right wing.
This was an important match for both teams. Columbus came into the game in 9th place in the Eastern Conference, but only 5 points below the playoff line. The Union came to Columbus in good shape standings-wise, but had been in poor run of form since June, and needed a good performance against a beatable team to get them back on track.
The U just couldn’t get it going in the first half. A shot by Tranquillo Barnetta just went over the top of the goal, and shots by Chris Pontius and Herbers both went directly at Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark. Blake had to work for a save in the 16th minute when a Robbie Finlay shot forced him to dive and make an athletic stop. Yaro did a good job chasing down the Crew players when they attempted to go into the box. A mostly uneventful first half ended with a 0-0 score.
The first 15 minutes of the 2nd half saw the Union wasting some opportunities with corner kicks and a free kick. A curling Barnetta shot in the 57th just missed the goal.
Herbers finally broke the scoreless tie in the 60th minute. Herbers was on the receiving end of a Pontius pass in the box and he took a quick shot which bounced off Hector Jiminez. Herbers then shot the rebound into the net to give the Union a 1-0 lead. It was Herbers’ 2nd goal of the season, both of which came against Columbus.
Shortly after that, the match saw a flurry of substitutions. Columbus tried to inject some fresh legs into the game at the 63rd minute mark when Dilly Duka replaced Robbie Finlay and Adam Jahn came in for Ola Kamara. Three minutes later, the Union made their first sub when Roland Alberg came in for Herbers, with Alberg taking the #10 spot and Barnetta shifting to the right. Columbus made their final sub in the 68th minute when Corey Ashe replaced Jiminez.
The substitutions appeared to pay off for the Crew as they evened up the match in the 73rd minute on a goal by Jahn. Blake punched a corner kick by Federico Higuain into the crossbar with the ball dropping to the feet of Jahn. Jahn’s shot appeared to be stopped at the line by Warren Creavalle, but the ball was ruled to have crossed the line for a controversial tying goal.
The tie didn’t last long as Rosenberry scored the winning goal a minute later. Rosenberry received a Barnetta pass in the center of the penalty area with his right foot. Showing a great touch, he deftly transferred the ball to his left foot and slid the ball underneath a diving Clark.
Blake made a nice save on a shot by Justin Meram in the 78th minute. Charlie Davies came in for Chris Pontius in the 81st minute, and the Union spent the rest of the match in time-killing mode, opting to hold on to the ball when they had opportunities to increase their lead.
Rosenberry and Yaro’s performance stood out amongst a good showing by the Union’s back line. Yaro made a strong statement that he should stay in the starting lineup over fellow rookie Tribbett.
The win gave the Union a big 3 points on the road. They won’t get much time to enjoy it as they face Sporting KC on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.