The Philadelphia Union extended their winless road streak to 16 games as they fell to Columbus Crew SC.
Union starting XI: Blake; Fabinho (Gaddis 75′), Trusty, Elliott, Rosenberry; Bedoya, Medujnanin; Accam (Picault 59′), Dockal, Ilsinho (Epps 60′); Sapong
Crew starting XI: Steffen; Valenzuela, Abubakar, Mensah, Afful; Trapp, Artur; Martinez (Cognale 90+2′), Argudo (Grella 81′) , Hansen (Higuain 59′); Zardes
Fabinho made a welcome return to the starting lineup, taking the place of Raymon Gaddis, who offers little in the way of offense. The hope going into the match was that he would provide some extra offense behind David Accam on the left wing. That was not to be however.
For the Crew, the Union may have thought they were getting a break as the Crew’s head coach Gregg Berhalter rested playmaker Federico Higuain, and gave Luis Argudo his first MLS start.
The match started with both teams getting some poor quality chances. After the first 15 minutes, the match devolved into a contest of who could lose possession the fastest. The Crew started to come to life towards the end of the half, with their best chance being a shot by Harrison Afful that hit off the crossbar in the 41st minute.
The Union woke up a little bit in the second half of the match. They started to push the ball into their offensive third of the field, but that all came to an end in the 53rd minute when a Gyasi Zardes goal forced the Union to chase the game. A Harrison Afful cross was punched by Andre Blake, but it fell to Cristian Martinez, who crossed it back to the waiting Zardes. With an open look in front of the goal, Zardes tapped it in. Jack Elliott failed to make a play on the cross from Martinez.
Accam and Islinho were both invisible in the first half, so it was no surprise when Jim Curtin subbed them out in the 60th minute with Fafa Picault and Marcus Epps. Picault in particular gave the Boys in Blue a charge, but they still could not get anything going inside the box. Columbus in the meantime were still getting their chances, with Blake making some good saves, the most impressive one being a leaping catch of a Wil Trapp bullet from distance.
Fabinho took a knock in the 74th minute and was replaced by Gaddis. In the 87th minute, C. J. Sapong was banged up by Lalas Abubakbar, and hobbled off the field. He limped back on shortly after, but he was clearly hurting.
The Union pushed a little harder in the dying minutes, and they almost found an equalizer in stoppage time when a Haris Medujanin cross found Sapong in front of the goal, but his shot was stopped by Crew goalkeeper Zach Steffen. Medujanin probably should have taken the shot instead of passing to a lame Sapong.
This was not a good showing by the Union, and I have to wonder if they will win any games on the road this year. They’ll get another chance when they travel to Montreal for a Saturday afternoon match.
- While Dockal had a nice shot on target from the top of the box in the 80th minute, he’s struggling to adjust to his new league.
- What’s up with Accam? He doesn’t look anything like the goal scorer he was with the Chicago Fire.
- Congratualtions to Sebastien LeToux on being named the inaugural inductee for the Union’s Ring Of Honor.
- And congratulations to Matt Read for being named to the U-20 US Men’s National Team.