Chester, PA- The playoff run is unofficially over for the Union. The Philly side was dropped 2-1 at home to a hot Columbus Crew team. The Union were seconds away from walking away with a point but the 10 man Crew scored a goal in the four minute of stoppage time.
The loss did not mathematically eliminate the Union but manager John Hackworth said he does not want to talk about the playoffs. He said if they went on some 10 game win streak then maybe. This team right now needs a pure scorer, someone over 6’0″ with a large frame. Lately teams seemed to have figured out Jack McInerney and Antoine Hoppenot. With the season nearly at an end, it’s not likely the team will make a move add power up front but this will be a priority in the off-season.
The game had some extra energy to begin as two-time gold medalist Carli Lloyd was recognized before kick-off. Lloyd stared in the London Games and lead the USA to gold by scoring both goals in the team’s 2-1 win over Japan. The Son’s of Ben chanted U-S-A in support.
Philadelphia controlled much the early possession. The Crew tried to slow up the attack but Chris Birchall got caught fouling Michael Farfan from 30 yards out. Union captain Carlos Valdes lined up in the 29th minute to take the free-kick. Valdes tried to curl his shot around the wall but the ball deflected off it. The redirection of shot and put Crew keeper Matt Lampson out position and the ball fell into the far left corner for a goal.
The Crew finally started to find their legs and just before the half. Dilly Duka was fouled by Union defender Sheanon Williams. Federico Higuanin delivered the kick into the box and it met the head of Josh Williams. The ball was slammed inside the near post just sneaking past Philly keeper Zac MacMath and the game was 1-1 in the 41st minute.
The second half saw the Union with key changes to take the 3 points. Both teams also stepped it physically and the game got hand in the 67th minute. Josh Williams was sent off with a straight red-card for a hard foul on Union sub Antoine Hoppenot. Hoppenot was given yellow-card for shoving Danny O’Rourke after the two exchanged some unfriendly words.
Since Union’s playoff window was so small the win seemed more important than a draw, the team pushed a lot bodies up top to get the 3 points. The Crew took advantage with a counter attack in the 94th minute of stoppage time. Federico Higuanin sent hard shot on goal that MacMath pushed wide, but ball slide right into the path of Eddie Gaven. The ball was knocked into the back the net and it sealed the win for the Crew.
The Philadelphia Union hit the road as they face the New England Revolution Saturday September 1. After the same travels to Toronto for a match September 15. The Union will returnt home Thursday September 20 when the host rivals D.C. United.
Philadelphia Union v. Columbus Crew – Highlights
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