Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

Photo: Daniel Studio

CJ Sapong subbed on early for an injured Fernando Aristeguieta and scored his third goal of the season. Vincent Nogueira and Sebastien Le Toux added second half tallies as Philadelphia Union were easy 3-0 winners over Columbus Crew Wednesday evening at PPL Park.

The Crew rested a number of regular starters and were outplayed for 90 minutes by the home side. Vincent Nogueira capitalized on a goalkeeper error from Steve Clarke in the 52nd minute and Le Toux finished off a flowing move in the 58th minute to add further gloss to the win.

First Half

Jim Curtin named, perhaps surprisingly coming off a loss and playing midweek, an unchanged starting XI from the team that fell in DC on Saturday.

The Union got the first chance of the game in the 20th minute. Cristian Maidana floated a well-weighted ball over the top from the right side toward Andrew Wenger, who did well to settle eight yards from goal. His shot was into the feet of Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark and the offside flag was already up..

Columbus finally threatened in the 27th minute. Waylon Francis found room to cross from the left side and his driven ball was met by Aaron Schoenfeld 12 yards out, but Brian Sylvestre did very well to dive to his left and deny the opportunity.

The Union would come right back with another chance of their own in the 30th minute. Good passing around the top of the box from Andrew Wenger to Sebastien Le Toux found the Frenchman in space and a low cross barely missed Fernando Aristeguieta at the far post.

Jim Curtin was forced into an early change after Aristeguieta had to be removed in the 37th minute after sustaining an ankle contusion. On replay, the striker appeared to be kicked by Emanuel Pogatetz in the Columbus box a few minutes earlier. CJ Sapong replaced the Venezuelan and took over up top.

The substitute did not take long to make his mark on the match. In the 41st minute, Maurice Edu intercepted a poor Mohammed Saied pass near the midfield line and charged forward, eventually playing it into the right channel to Cristian Maidana. The Argentinian was in fine form on the night and touched a soft pass beyond the Crew defense that Sebastien Le Toux latched onto just in front of the six-yard box. The Frenchman simply cut the ball across goal and Sapong strode through to tap in from four yards out for his second goal in three games.

Columbus would get one last chance before the break as they counterattacked down the right. Ethan Finlay created room for himself just inside the Union box, but put his low shot narrowly wide of Brian Sylvestre’s far post.

Second Half

Philadelphia would double their lead in the 52nd minute through a goalkeeping error. Steve Clarke appeared to second guess himself as he released a throw and lost control of the ball. It fell straight to the feet of Vincent Nogueira who had the composure to simply chip the ball in from 25 yards.

It was 3-0  just six minutes later as Sebastien Le Toux scored for the second straight match. Brilliant hold up play from CJ Sapong near the midfield line saw the striker beat two Crew defenders before playing a pass for Sheanon Williams to run onto down the right touchline. Williams deftly tapped the ball around Waylon Francis as he moved into the box. Le Toux timed his run to perfection and Williams’ pass across the front of goal was simply guided in from five yards out.

Andrew Wenger would get a decent chance for his first goal of the season in the 76th minute. After a good spell of possession, Chaco Maidana lofted a ball to the back post from the Union right. Wenger beat his man to the cross but nodded it just wide of the post from seven yards out, swinging his arm in frustration after the miss.

The third goal sapped the fight from Columbus, who rarely threatened the Philly goal even after Kei Kamara, Ben Speas, and Hector Jimenez joined the fray.

The Union will look for their second home win of the week when they take on New York City FC this Saturday at 7 pm at PPL Park.

Philadelphia Union
Brian Sylvestre, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Maurice Edu, Sheanon Williams, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira (Zach Pfeffer 80′), Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger (Eric Ayuk 78′), Sebastien Le Toux, Fernando Aristeguieta (CJ Sapong 37′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Jimmy McLaughlin, Fred

Columbus Crew
Steve Clark, Waylon Francis (Hector Jimenez 71′), Emanuel Pogatetz, Sergio Campbell, Chad Barson, Kevan George, Federico Higuain (Kei Kamara 65′), Mohammed Saeid, Ethan Finlay (Ben Speas 65′), Justin Meram, Aaron Schoenfeld
Unused Subs: Brad Stuver, Kristinn Steindorsson, Tony Tchani, Tyson Wahl

Scoring Summary
PHI: CJ Sapong (Sebastien Le Toux) — 41
PHI: Vincent Nogueira — 52
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux (Sheanon Williams) — 58

Disciplinary Summary
CLB: Hector Jimenez (foul) — 85
PHI: Eric Ayuk (foul) — 86

Philadelphia Union Columbus Crew
10 Shots 11
5 Shots on Target 2
3 Shots off Target 8
2 Blocked Shots 1
 8 Corner Kicks 4
 17 Crosses  19
 4 Offsides 0
 7 Fouls 7
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards  0
 408 Total Passes 413
 77% Passing Accuracy 80.1%
 49.5% Possession  50.5%
 55 Duels Won 42
 56.7% Duels Won %  43.3%
17 Tackles Won  16
2 Saves 2
22 Clearances 27


  1. Steve H. says:

    Fun game to be at tonight. Nothing better than living 15 minutes from the stadium.
    I lost my voice but took my Cannon Rebel camera with the 200m telephoto lens. Got some great game shots from right near the field.
    I’m posting them to the players on twitter tomorrow.
    Too tired, elated, excited to go into game breakdown. Other than the team is finally playing disciplined soccer and it is a fine brand of style.
    Way to go C.J.!

  2. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    Lucky, but really good

    • I’d say it’s about damn time their luck changed for the better. Being healthy helps and they made their own luck.


  3. 700 chopper says:

    Hot damn what a great game and an awesome team effort for once it was a pleasure to watch

  4. That was fun!

  5. Great game and perfect pay back! I like Nando and I’m all for him but he is like the bearded stranger. He’s either hurt or unavailable for one reason or another…love him but it’s getting old. In my opinion Sapong needs to start. He’s got size, strength, balance, speed, and finishing. If Curtin can’t see that well…

    Great game from start to finish. When they are healthy,issue free play and play smart they can make things happen. Fabinho had another solid game and I have to hand it to Carroll. Wenger has been appearing to get his game back. Keep it up kid you’re about to break out!

    Sell this team to a competent and financially competitive owner!


    • Every time CJ has gotten into a game he’s been very effective. Changes the game even. I think he’s just faster and more athletic than ‘Nando. I knew when. He came in tonight he’d make something happen.

      • alicat215 says:

        he was a game changer last night. Scored the first one, created the third.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who noticed the job Sapong did to spring Williams to setup the third goal.

      • alicat215 says:

        If CJ doesn’t hold that ball up…that sequence never happens….it was all him! +1

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Forget the rest. The highlight of the game was when Fabinho and Wenger had simultaneous throw ins. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  7. Club is playing well. Very nice ball movement, good spacing, good movement without the ball, good touches. Definitely gave up a few too many chances and were fortunate on some close misfires and some poor execution by Columbus in the final 1/3rd. All in all though, a very good performance. Chaco played very well. I like Nando, but CJ is definitely the more effective #9 right now. And somehow, LeToux and Wenger have done a 180 on the season in the last two weeks. Great effort tonight. Now let’s try and follow it up with a big win on Saturday.

  8. How long has it been since I could say “That was a fun game to watch!”?

    Makes having to get up at 6am to teach cranky teenagers so much nicer…

  9. Andy Muenz says:

    This just in. I hear Sakiewicz has scheduled a press conference tomorrow to announce how proud he is of the team he has put together.

    • He’s scheduled it to be by himself alone talking to his bathroom mirror. He’ll open with a rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Mi Reflejo.”

      Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!


  10. philly loves a winner says:

    Great stuff. LeToux seems to have it figured out, but if only Wenger could put the ball in the net.

    Even though Saturday should be an easy win, what does Jim do with the lineup?

    • In my opinion, he leaves the lineup right the way it is. It’s working! With a 3 day turnaround, you really can’t train a different lineup/system for Saturday’s match.
      Tonight was fun to watch! They got caught a little out of balance a few times. A couple opportunities weren’t converted. However, it’s a 90+ minute game. All (at least most) teams have the occasional oops. They’ll continue to get better working more and more with each other.
      I really enjoy the fact that the team isn’t so predictable as to go wide and cross every time they get the ball. Nice buildups in the middle. I’ve been screaming this all year. And FINALLY close to 50% possession! 74% completed passes (not great but much better)!
      Am I dreaming? I sure hope not!

    • That header was damn close for Wenger. But you’ve got to admit, tonight’s performance was the closest thing we’ve seen to a confident Andrew since last season. Let’s hope it continues, because he can be dangerous.

    • I think he has to make some changes. First, Nando got a knock, and Sapong has been a beast, so Sapong has to start. Second, BC was a beast last night, but asking him to play 90 minutes for the third time in 8 days would be foolhardy. I think we have to bump Edu up to the midfield for this game and put Vitoria on the back line with Marquez. Third, Ray Gaddis should be ready. This is a tough one, because both Fabinho and Williams were really good, so I’m not sure who you take out.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        What about putting Williams at Center Back if Vittorio is not healthy enough to go?

      • I like that idea a lot. The only thing they’ve got is Villa’s quick movement. Having 2 fast center backs behind a mobile Edu might completely neutralize their offense.

      • I am as vocal a critic of Fabinho as anyone, but you gotta play him Saturday. He’s playing so well right now to pull him couldn’t do anything but hurt the team.

      • alicat215 says:

        don’t change a thing….except pop CJ up top! Your 3-1 in the last 4 matches…….don’t f#%k with anything!

    • soccerdad says:

      dude, you serious? There are no ‘easy wins’ for this franchise. And if it turns into one, i will come back here and Kiss your ass.

  11. Will offer nothing but congrats- 9 points in 12 is inarguable. Exactly what the team needed to do. They are a better team with Sapong on the field. I like The Striker but he’s not fast enough, not good enough with the ball at his feet and doesn’t get involved quite enough when compared to CJ.
    The good news is the two red card make up call can/should/will be carried over to this saturday’s game. And it damn well better.
    Anything close in the box and this team better get put on the spot. Mandate to said referee from league office.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed that Nando isn’t as fast and that does bring a different look. Chaco has been playing so high he’s almost a second striker, but he isn’t fast either. Nando gets abused, rarely if ever dives, and gets no calls. That’s getting old. Ans speaking of Chaco, while he loathes any type of contact, he dominated that game offensively. He has been quality lately.

    • alicat215 says:

      OSC said it last week, its an athletic league….you need pace to be effective here. Nando has none. You can obviously say Casey doesn’t either, but he is smart and a veteran and knows the league and his opponents……Nando does not have these qualities. CJ is the obvious answer. He gives the opposition back four fits……..he beats them up too…..love it!

  12. Beautiful game to watch tonight. The boys looked so solid! Brian Carroll – once again the silent stalwart.

    • Yes, I usually blast the man on the site, and he wasn’t perfect, but a played a damn good game. Kudos to him!

    • Agreed. A few errant passes, but he’s such a smart player. Always in the right place at the right time defensively. Well done from BC.

  13. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Probably we will see Sapong start Saturday night, as Aristgueta will be questionable and Casey unavailable, but I don’t sense Sapong is truly 90 minutes match fit yet, so Hoppenot might dress ’cause Casey can’t be healed from a tear and Catic is in Carolina. The only other option I can conceive is Le Toux.
    Nogueira played very well tonight. Whoever it was who said Nogueira and Maidana have to be on the field together spoke truth. Berghalter chose to give his bench central midfielders a game and he paid for it.
    Our old guys play the counter-attack the best. If you look at the set up for the third goal, look at Le Toux put it in overdrive for three steps before Williams crossed it in. Wow. And Wenger, Fabinho and Maidana dominated triangle play down the left channel in the second half.
    Marquez played against Schoenfeld last year when Harrisburg played Dayton (2014 in USL PRO, now in PDL), so he knew what to expect..
    I was impressed that Berghalter came over to shake hands with Aristigueta when he had to come off.
    Who’d a thunk we’d shut out the Crew. Yes, Kamara did not start, but Findley and Meram did. Very pleasant surprise, very pleasant!

  14. Great stuff & another shut-out; awesome! Starting to like this team again!

  15. The Black Hand says:


  16. OneManWolfpack says:

    Watched the game on DVR, so I just got done. Got a text from my dad way earlier, while the game was on live, who I asked NOT to text me at all… that said “One word – UN-FUCKIN-BELIEVABLE!!” Just like that. So naturally, I have never watched a 3-0 WIN more nervous than I just watched that game. Haha. I was waiting for it to fall apart at any moment. Happy it didn’t. So thanks for that Dad!! Haha.
    I have to say, for the most part, they played a damn good game. Finished most chances, got some luck, played a little possession, and made very few mistakes. This lineup is working. You have to keep it for now… hope Nando is healthy.
    And I don’t care who did or didn’t play for Columbus tonight. The Union were the better team. Period. Great effort. We needed a run of games like this. Well done gentleman. See you on Saturday night!!

  17. UN-F#&*IN’-BELIEVABLE GO UNION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. The Little Fish says:

    Wow…Great effort and result. Loved it. What the hell happened to our field? Looks like the circus was held on our pitch.Yikes! I hope we kept their security deposit.

  19. Clean sheet. Good pressure and reading of passes that led to a interceptions. Carroll again impressed with solid play.
    Speed is a dimension that is absolutely necessary to keep a back line honest. Nando doesn’t have it. Sapong does. He MUST start. Our Attack is simply more effective with him on the field.
    So much for complaining about protecting Fabhino. Again solid play from the Left back, caught up high a few times more than we may like. But, my choice pairs him with Gaddis right now.
    I can’t imagine the money from the Rugby 7’s is worth the destruction of the field.

  20. man, what a great game that was. i think wenger is really starting to turn a corner. his play was much better, he seems way more eager to make those swashbuckling runs that he became known for last season and his service has been noticeably better. one of the biggest signs to me was his reaction to missing the header. he didn’t meekly put his hand up and bow his head. he was angry

  21. Wenger has looked much more aggressive and deceive to me. Hope he heard the applause after the header….the croud could feel his pain! GO UNION!!

    • I think he did. I also liked that he was showing that hunger that he missed inside of just sulking back. It’s still amazing he can’t score but we were all pleased with him!

  22. Amobi Ribiero says:

    Ironic that the SoBs created a Tifo celebrating empty seats. River End a little sparse last night

  23. Dr. Union says:

    Great win. Best players on the field had to be Carroll (lots of one touch passing getting the ball out of his feet quick and killing the passing lanes for the Crew) Fabinho broke up plays all night (even with no help from Wenger I’ll get to that)and Maidana (controlled the game, the flow, and distributed the ball well). While I would say these three outperformed others everyone had a very solid night I think except for two people. Wenger and Curtin. Once again Curtin subbed to late in the match and only made the right change due to injury. With 3 games in 8 nights anyone of Maidana Nogs or Carroll should’ve come off after the 3 goal if not after the 2nd. 75 minute is to late for a sub when your up 3-0. Now I know everyone is likely to disagree with everyone saying Wenger played better but he just didn’t the rest of the team did. I watched the replay closely 10 runs down the left side 9 times he takes one touch inside then heads for the endline (more of the same as usual) not one of the crosses met up with anyone or got us any shots on goal. The one play he did make was when he cut inside the 1 time out of 10 laid if off to Sapong who ripped a left footed shot on goal. As far as Wenger’s defense goes I thank Le Toux as he was playing both winger defensive positions all game cause Wenger didn’t track back. I’m sorry but still don’t get why he is on the field. He had an okay night versus a rookie fullback but still had no goals and no assists I’m less than impressed.

    • Wenger was pretty good, actually. His finish needs polishing (confidence), but he was kind of nasty at times.
      Keep Sapong in the middle and we might have something. He’s too good to lose out wide…and Ayuk…meh,

      • Dr. Union says:

        TBH couldn’t disagree more any competent defender can easily shut Wenger down he does the same move time after time. Its not hard to just watch him cut left and run him to the endline. I do agree that Sapong has to stay in the middle. Ayuk may not be the answer, but right now I think he has more promise in his little toe then Wenger does in his whole body. To often it is all the same with Wenger new defenders don’t know his moves like the rookie he was playing, but everyone else does fans included. I’m bored by his skill set and he has yet to learn to do anything new and its not helping the wing play on the left. Last 3 games things have been worked more down the right to start the game flowing then they push out left after teams forget that there is someone playing over there.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Are you bored by Seba’s skill-set? He doesn’t even have one move.
        I re-watched the match, last night. Andrew Wenger DOMINATED his wing. His defenders were left looking for their jock-straps, all game. He isn’t scoring…and that sucks. The rest of his game is not nearly as bad as your say. He was very, very good against Columbus. He is one of the better players on this club…he just needs to find his finishing touch.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I am bored by Seba skill-set. Personally I’ve never seen Seba as a winger cause he is not to me he is a second striker in a two striker set.. While Wenger had his best game of the season vs columbus he missed on almost ever cross was terrible on defense Seba took over that responsibility for him. I just don’t see where he adds anything to this team. He had a good game versus Columbus I say all cause he played vs a rookie right back. If he could learn to cut inside on to his right foot and shoot just 3 times a game I bet he scores 1 out of 3 everytime cause the move is always open. However, he goes endline every time and crosses to no one. Think of any good winger in any league and the one thing they do that Wenger doesn’t is change up their style and make different passes and angles. Yeah Seba lacks this too, but he at least plays defense on top of this. Where to me Wenger just lack positioning, heart, movement, and drive. Its been 14GP I’m sorry but its not a slump he is in it just is how he is.

  24. That was a fun game. It is much more fun leaving the park after a win. Maybe they are building some momentum, especially if Le Toux is getting hot.

    I love it when Edu makes that strong drive up the middle of the field. I’d like to see him do it about 3 times a game, as opposed to once every 3 games. It lead right to a goal last night

    • Dr. Union says:

      I do not like that while last night led to a goal 9 times out of 10 that leads to Edu out of position and a goal against us.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agree. The quicker countering teams will make us pay for Edu’s walkabouts…as they have before. He mustn’t abandon his back line.

  25. Great, great game all around. Carroll was excellent, and the back four across the board were strong. LeToux seems to be coming back to life and the Nogueira/Maidana combo is really fun to watch. Only issue at all was not getting fresh legs in earlier to relieve 2 more starters. Once up 3-0, fresh legs should have been coming in, given 3 games in 8 days.

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