Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-2 Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union defeated Columbus Crew 3-2 on Wednesday night in Chester. The Crew tallied first, with Ola Kamara volleying home in the 14th minute. Philadelphia rallied behind goals from Chris Pontius, Vincent Nogueira, and Fabian Herbers before Cristian Hernandez netted a consolation in stoppage time.

First half

Jim Curtin made three changes to the team that drew in Colorado on Saturday. Matt Jones made his first career start in goal for the Union with Andre Blake off with the Jamaicam national team for the Copa America Centenario. Fabinho returned in place of Ray Gaddis, and Vincent Nogueira returned from injury at the expense of Warren Creavalle.

The Union started strong and had a number of chances in the opening 10 minutes. Brian Carroll had a dipping shot saved from 18 yards and Tranquillo Barnetta led a fantastic counterattack alongside Sebastien Le Toux that ended with Barnetta forcing Steve Clark into a save from 10 yards out.

But it was the Crew that draw first blood in the 14th minute. Ethan Finlay found the ball down the Crew’s right side, pushed the ball past Fabinho with ease, and fired a cross with pace across the box for Kamara to volley in unmarked from eight yards.

Philadelphia responded quickly and equalized in the 22nd minute through Chris Pontius. The wide man did ever so well to take down Le Toux’ long cross-field ball on the left side, cut across the top of the Columbus box, and fire a hard shot that deflected off of Chad Barson’s head before nestling into the back of the net.

The Crew almost retook the lead in the 32nd minute. Ken Tribbett pulled down Ethan Finlay 25 yards from Philadelphia’s goal, earning a yellow card fin the process. Federico Higuain’s shot was into the wall, but Finlay latched onto the rebound and fired a half volley that beat Jones, but was saved off the goal line by a well-positioned Tribbett.

The Union had a great chance to take the lead in the 33rd minute. Le Toux and Keegan Rosenberry, who combined well for the whole first half, worked the ball down the right side, with Le Toux picking out Barnetta on a cutback just inside the Columbus box. The midfielder tried to chip Clark to the far post, but the Crew goalkeeper got a hand to the shot, which may have been heading just slightly wide.

Columbus had a good opportunity to retake the lead in the 37th minute. Kamara beat the Union offside trap and was played in behind the defense, having only Matt Jones to beat from 18 yards. But the striker’s shot was just wide of the Crew goal.

Second half

The Union took the lead in the 57th minute. Chris Pontius did well to run with the ball down the left side and cut into the Columbus box along the end line to fizz a ball across the six yard box. The ball missed the Union’s first two runners but found Vincent Nogueira at the top of the box. The Frenchman put a hard shot on target that deflected of Waylon Francis and past Steve Clark.

The remainder of the second half featured more yellow cards than shots. Warren Creavalle and Ilsinho were introduced in the 69th minute, replacing Nogueira and Pontius, respectively. Fabian Herbers came in for C.J. Sapong in the 74th minute after it appeared the big striker took a bit of a knock. Conor Casey joined the fray for Columbus at the same time.

The former Union man would last only minutes on the field, picking up a straight red card in the 77th minute for a foul on Keegan Rosenberry. He looked to catch the Union rookie late and little high, but the red card still seemed harsh.

Herbers added what proved to be the deciding goal, his first-ever professional tally, in the 85th minute. Ilsinho placed a well-weighted pass behind the Columbus back line for the rookie striker to run onto, and Herbers did well to cut back beyond the retreating Crew defense before firing a curling effort into the top corner of Clark’s goal from 16 yards.

But Columbus, despite being down a man, did not go gently into the warm Chester night. Cristian Martinez, the 19-year-old midfielder, nodded in Finlay’s cross from close range for his own first MLS goal. But the strike was only consolation for the visitors as Philadelphia held on for the win.

The team returns to league play with a road game against New York City FC on JUne 18. Before that, Philadelphia hosts Harrisburg City Islanders in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday, June 15.

Philadelphia Union
Matt Jones, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira (Warren Creavalle 69′), Chris Pontius (Ilsinho 69′), Tranquillo Barnetta, Sebastien Le Toux, CJ Sapong (Fabian Herbers 74′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Anderson Conceicao, Ray Gaddis, Roland Alberg

Columbus Crew
Steve Clark, Michael Parkhurst, Hector Jimenez, Waylon Francis, Chad Barson, Wil Trapp, Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram (Cristian Martinez 69′), Mohammed Saeid (Ben Swanson 74′), Federico Higuain (Conor Casey 74′), Ola Kamara
Unused subs: Brad Stuver, Corey Ashe

Scoring Summary
CLB: Ola Kamara (Ethan Finlay) — 14′
PHI: Chris Pontius (Sebastien Le Toux) — 21′
PHI: Vincent Nogueira (Chris Pontius) — 57′
PHI: Fabian Herbers — (Ilsinho) 84′
CLB: Cristian Hernandez (Ethan Finlay) — 90+3′

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Ken Tribbett (unsporting behavior) — 32′
CLB: Ethan Finlay (unsporting behavior) — 43′
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux (dissent) — 64′
PHI: Vincent Nogueira (foul) — 68′
CLB: Conor Casey (serious foul – red card) — 77′

Philadelphia Union Columbus Crew
 17 Shots 13
7 Shots on Target 5
 5 Shots off Target 5
 5 Blocked Shots 3
8 Corner Kicks 3
 18 Crosses  13
 2 Offsides  1
10 Fouls  8
 3 Yellow Cards 1
 0 Red Cards 1
420 Total Passes 463
 81% Passing Accuracy 82%
 47.5% Possession  52.5%
 54 Duels Won 40
 57.4% Duels Won %  42.6%
 21 Tackles Won 8
 2 Saves  4
 10 Clearances  9


  1. 1st place at the Copa break. DAMN THAT FEELS GOOD!!!
    And good for Herbie… what a cool, composed finish.
    I was in section 127, directly in front of the Casey incident. It’s not a red card. Period.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Slow motion on the MLS Live replay agrees, a yellow perhaps, but, especially because the ref could not see Casey’s face, Red is for Reputation.

      • Yeah deserved a yellow. It was a bit high and not necessary, but not a straight red. Rosenberry’s face is priceless. He’s like, “wow… um, ok, sure”. Ha

    • Agree. I was in 126, a yellow at best. But I’ll take it, I had a bad feeling the U was fading before that card.

    • Interesting to hear Casey’s comments after the game: “That’s not a foul and I get a red card,” Casey told MLSsoccer.com. “So it’s pretty puzzling … It’s a one-goal game with 10 minutes left and someone decides to fabricate something and then we’re down a man. It’s not OK”
      From what I saw, Rosenberry didn’t fabricate a thing. He got hit a bit up high and turned away from it. He didn’t go down or grab his face or anything like that. I hope that “someone fabricating something” he means in the ref.

      • Agree 100%, that comment from Casey, well, it is not endearing at all. KR was solid. Maybe Casey didn’t tune into the final on Saturday? now that was some total BS playacting there

      • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

        It’s fine. It was about the ref, not Rosenberry. It was one of the worst calls in the MLS in a very long time. Nice to not be on the end of it. And I feel horrible for Casey — on the field here for the first time since leaving and first time anywhere since March and that happens: BS!

  2. pragmatist says:

    Herbers needs to apologize to that defender for embarrassing him like that.
    And Ilsinho may as well apologize to the entire city of Columbus. Good gawd do I want him at full fitness!
    Well done, boys. Now get well. Guys are banged up and it’s time to heal.
    Go USA! (See how I pivot there?)

  3. No analyzing the game – no breaking it down… only blessings and thanksgiving for ‘Earnie at the Helm’– who by right of Dutch fastidiousness has such a fine attention to detail that even the state of the sod and its imperfections raises his ire and affects his level of commitment to his players…. and this bleeds —- in commitment—- and belief… through the entire organization.
    And so tonight, as we enter a period of rest and celebration as the world’s game prepares to kick off, I am only left with this one request…. this one single logical conclusion upon which I alight before resting my head with a smile upon the countenance and a spring in the step…. this one small barb which I will offer until they rightfully show themselves…
    Adam S, Jerome – – – – Wherefore are thou?

    • Guessing they’ve changed their PSP names and their PSP tunes 😉
      So many could do the same thing in businesses and/or governments big and small, and yet so very, very few do.
      It is a beautiful thing to see.

  4. Ilsinho is incredible. Each time I watch him I am re-amazed constantly at how the ball seems to stick to his feet. Such little tiny touches make it seem like he is in complete control of it at all times.

    And you can see now how the other team reaponds to his reputation. The only thing more amazing than the space he wqs given was the fact he was savvy enough to tale it and cut inside a few times into even more space.

    • I too want to see more of him since he is more fit (seems much slimmer) but I’m concerned about his lack of defensive support. Maybe we view him vs Seba like many of us view Fabi vs Ray?

      • Not a bad thought, but right now its more fitness for 90 minutes forcing the way he plays. I’m eager for him to get a few more games with us to mesh. Then we’ll know a bit better.

    • Yes, good things were happening when Ilsinho had the ball on the left. I wanted more and more of it. Columbus gave him a good yard or two every time he had the ball and he was more than happy to push forward with it.

  5. This team knows no fear! We’ve waited so long! Thank you Union and thank you Earnie Stewart!

  6. Big Ern has set the tone, established the culture, and pulled the right strings to let this season unfold so much better than most would have hoped for.
    Tribbett’s save and Herbers’ goal are but two moments tonight that exemplify the 2016 Union – and its bright future.
    This team expects to win and I give credit to its coach for that attitude. Off his game saving goal, Carroll looked to play offense more than I can remember.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    An interesting tactical vignette played out on the right side of the Union defense, and may illustrate Brian Carroll’s non-technical value to the defense. I am guessing about that latter.
    Waylon Francis, the Columbus left back, was constantly playing very high and very wide, wing-like almost. At the same time, Justin Meram was positioned almost as a #10 underneath Ola Kamara. Early in the game, Rosenberry bit on the Francis bait, Meram shot the too wide gap between Rosenberry and Tribbett to the corner, received the ball, and they were behind the defense with the ball on the end line.
    Columbus kept trying it but Rosenberry quickly stopped biting. By all accounts, he’s an intelligent soccer brain. I do wonder if BC offered a word of warning as well.

    • You have to believe he did. BC is the captain, the unquestioned leader of that defense especially without blake around, and we’d be talking about his great form if he were 28 still. He’s dialed in right now.
      For the record, when BC picked up that ball at the top of the box early, I screamed “HAVE ONE” louder than I yelled anything else all game. And he did. And it was a good shot. I’ve been drinking quite a lot of the BC kool-aid

  8. Normally this is the time and space where my instinct is to say “yeah but…” but, I have none tonight. That was fun to watch, a great result, curtin made every sub I would have (albeit in a different order), and I can’t find any one individual to criticize on our team (that ref tho, I’m sure we’ll all get to him). It’s official, this team isn’t just competitive, they’re fun and most of all they’re good.

    • The ref was fine in my opinion till about the 70th min… then like a light switch he just flipped, and was horrendous. Bizarre red card on Casey too. I chanted his name with others at the game. Felt bad for him really

      • I agree. Really a good first half and then just lost the script somewhere in the 2nd. It was strange. Maybe the ref ran out of gas too? Wasn’t getting in positions to make calls as well? It just stinks that what was a very entertaining game turned into that.

    • Jones in goal scares me a bit, guess I’m getting accustomed to Andre’s superhuman abilities

      • He could not have done anything about the first goal. The second goal he was caught leaning the other way – can never know for sure but Blake may have been athletic enough to get a hand on it.

      • Lucky Striker says:

        ………then there was the misplayed corner that Meram straight on headed off the post.

        Even his saves were shaky.

      • Not unexpected given his first start of the season and being on a new team.
        There is no question that Blake is better, the real question is, at this moment, is McCarthy?

  9. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Martinez’s consolation goal in stoppage time was very nice, I do wonder, though, if Superman had been in goal, … .
    Harrisburg beat Chattanooga 2-1 in the USOC 3rd round, so the Union will host them at the Talon on June 15th. we might get to see some of the reserves play some in that game. Keep in mind that the roster rules regarding internationals are different in the USOC, fewer internationals allowed I believe?

  10. Old Soccer Coach says:

    The Union are averaging 1.64 points per game, according to the standings I get from MLSsoccer.com when I use a laptop. Pending tomorrow’s games, that’s fourth in the league.

    • Sitting 3rd in total points, only behind Colorado and dallas. Not sure where our PPG puts us besides 1st in the east.

    • 7 SOG of 17 tonite. CLB had 5 of 13. This match was up and down the pitch all night – the 6th game in 22 days with the same XI when available. As one who called for more rotation as a measure of JC’s managerial aptitude, I humbly stand corrected.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        We need to acknowledge the skills and “know how” of the sports science and conditioning people, not only John Miller but also the new fellow whose name I don’t recall, apologies.
        Also acknowledge the decision to adopt two practices a day in the fashion of Europe, which, by inference from one comment made on a subject tangential to the issue in reference to the collective bargaining agreement during the winter, I attribute to Earnie Stewart.
        Watching CJ Sapong laboring almost from the opening whistle was painful.

      • Garrison Draper – Director of Performance
        Bill Knowles – Director of Recondition and Athletic Development
        Paul Rushing – Head Athletic Trainer
        Kevin Miller- Strength and Conditioning Coach
        Also some others but I believe these are the core people. Credit where credit is do.

  11. Left the stadium with a raspy voice from screaming so much. What fun it is to be a supporter of a division leading squad that so far has done well at home. Whoo Hoo.

  12. Old Soccer Coach says:

    On the first goal Richie Marquez slipped in the lacrosse goal area; it’s not clear he would’ve disrupted the service, and it does not explain why Kamara was open in the gap between Rosenberry and Tribbett.

    • The other team manufactured an excellent gol. Finlay filleted Fabinho (phew) nice service, excellent finish….humbly offer congrats I guess.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        You’re right. Sometimes, as Romario to Kasey Keller in that confederations Cup game long ago, you just reach out and shake his hand.

      • I saw the slip and thought…damn lacrosse…but it was a pretty goal.

    • That was a VERY pretty goal, and I was impressed by it. I agree with your later comment as well: sometimes the other guys just do it right. That being said, I don’t want ANOTHER Kamara beating the Union for more years with these guys. I had enough of Kai when he was there. (I felt like Sinfeld, except instead of “Newman!”, i was growling “Kamara!”) Good game.

  13. High Time for Fabian to score! Way to go, Tiger! Turn Him Loose!

  14. It is great to leave the park chanting “who’s in first, Union”

    Columbus may have the ugliest uniforms I have ever seen. As bad as the jerseys are, they look worse with the light blue shorts. Yikes.

    • The SOBs banner of the bathtub “golden shower” on to their jersey was so well done. Ha. Agreed the uniforms aren’t good.

      • John Ling says:

        I think they’d look OK without the yellow stain on the front of the shirt. When viewed from the front, it looks like they’re wearing a yellow pinnie. Just a white shirt with the light blue shorts would be a nice looking road uniform…

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I think I may remember from the beginning of the season that they have something to do with the colors of the city of Columbus, OH, it’s flag, maybe.

      • +1 It’s designed to reflect the colors of the Columbus city flag. But there had to be a better way…

      • Sons of Ben were in rare form last eve., relentlessly heckling Steve Clark. Easy to hear almost everything at the top of 103 and i almost had a heart attack laughing at it. This season so far has been the most fun i’ve had at PPL/TES in the 6 years or so that i’ve been going to matches there…

      • they sounded great on TV. watched the match when i got home late. the Casey chants and applause were nice too.

    • They looked like a bunch of tweakers who just puked Mountain Dew down the fronts of their T shirts

  15. Check it out, Herbie’s on MLS.COM front page !!! One of our top draft pick rookies who just netted his FIRST MLS goal by breaking the ankles of his dogged defender, inside the box, then bends a f#*@in’ heat seeking missle into the upper corner of the SIDE PANEL, beyond the exhausted reach of the keeper… might just be the reason huh! WOW – IMPRESSIVE, WELL DONE!!

    • Replayed that over and over and showed my son…that Master Youngbuck, is why left foot. That sir is how you crumple an accordion.

    • Link to video: https://streamable.com/pqai
      This is why he’s been first off the bench all season.

      • That’s exactly the kind of thing you need a striker to do. Create his own space and put a shot on target. I’m still waiting to see CJ do the same. Yes, Herbers had a nice piece of help from Ilsinho and he’s fresh against a pretty tired Columbus back, but he skill on that stop and the placement of the strike: Class.

  16. Very happy to see Jones get the start over McCarthy and a positive result. The first goal was pretty unstoppable, I mean, Kamara was left wide, WIDE open and the one-timer was a rocket.
    The second was also a defensive lapse that led to a very open opportunity. Will need to see that one a few more times to see if it should have been saved.
    I felt he did a pretty good job on the distribution side of things; looked confident and decisive.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      On the MLS Live replay, I think I saw Rosenberry apologize to Jones during the end-of-game hand shaking and congratulating.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Jones looked like a goalkeeper who hasn’t seen much game time at any level in quite some time … McCarthy was the one getting all the games at BSFC … With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps it should have been McCarthy who got the start after all.

    • My first reaction to both goals was, “Blake would have saved that”. Looking back, that’s probably pretty unfair since a) who knows if thats actually correct and b) I’m comparing a mere human to Jamaican superman.
      What was interesting was that all 3 shots that got by him (i’m including the one tribbett saved off the line) were driven very low, but also near him. Jones couldn’t get down quick enough. So, guess what he’ll be doing on the training ground for the next 2 weeks.

  17. Great One says:

    I questioned keeping the same players out there but who cares, what a win, what a place to be. We need more Ilsinho

  18. What a fun game. Even conceding the first goal to that Panamanian kid Martinez didn’t do anything but heighten the anticipation of a good result. Starting to bring the ball into the open field before the box now, instead of the perpetual corner and cross attack that was so predictable for so long.Led to Pontius’ goal, and several good shots if not actual chances. The midfield was working well, and I think that the break comes at a great time.More time on the practice field to learn about each other. (I saw Ilsinho explaining to Fabinho a missed chance at an overlap; ironic, since Fabinho spends so much time attacking, but it was a pass that Ilsinho was expecting company on the attack.) Well done, boys.

  19. Even though (I think) we would still have been in first if we hadn’t won that game, it can’t be stressed enough how much we needed 3 at home last night! Great to have Vincent back! Wonderful that Fabian hits his goal so sweet; that has to be a confidence booster!

  20. Great win all around. Going into the break on a high is great. Beating the crew 2 times this year, wh would have thought? Le Toux needs to get central more, it seems every time he does there is a nice d splitting ball from him to Sapong or Barnetta, something I don’t remember Le Toux doing before. Also, Creavalle needs some longer cleats, dude slips every game. Love having Nogs back.

  21. Last year, a goal against the Union in the 17th minute would have us fans thinking, “here we go again struggling to get a point”. This year, after that 1st Crew goal I thought, “well that sucks, but no big deal, plenty of time to get 2 goals and get the 3 points”. The attitude is completely different this year.

    Like everyone else here, I give credit to Earnie, but I also give some credit to Curtin too. Yeah, he may be on a learning curve with the tactics, and his subs are too late (not last night though), but he’s instilling the right attitude. The team is playing with confidence, Curtin says all the right things in his press conferences, and he must be saying all the right things in the locker room. He’s a Philly guy, and he’s made this a team Philly people can love.

    It’s so nice to not be saying “we suck so much” anymore. And the term “that’s so Union” has been completely redefined.

    • To say “That’s So Union” is redefined is a big leap of faith, but you know what after watching this team debunk every aspect of the negative term deservedly used last year, and since just last night they even purged the ’10 man’ monkey off their back, I’m with ya… What a spectacular season this TEAM has generated, in one off season time frame, so I say yes, being down a goal early in the match, then scoring 3 UN-ANSWERED GOALS to put this game away last night, wait, here it comes…”THAT’S SO UNION” YYEEEHHHAAAA, Keep it going boys, pedal to the metal & hold on for the ride… UNION – UNION – UNION !!!!!

  22. philsoc8 says:

    Great game – Columbus is a legit team that plays good football and has some great individual talent. Wonderful night at the park.

    Can I just say how impressive Richie Marquez has been this season. This is a kid who played D-3 college soccer, and now he’s a rock back there that is more or less being taken for granted. If there wasn’t such a glut of center backs on the USMNT, I would be pushing for him getting a run.

  23. Lucky Striker says:

    I’m sure Ilsinho thought about taking the shot himself at that point, but laid it off for Ferby to do his thing-and gain some much-needed confidence.

    Class move from a total pro, who needs to get in game shape pronto Tonto…………

    • Oh yeah, it was perfect. Gotta love the 3 on 2 break there and also gotta love the striker that doesn’t even think about passing in that situation. Can’t wait to get Ilsinho starting so we can get Le Toux off the bench again (not that he’s been bad starting) because he was looking like a killer super sub early this year.

  24. Marquez, Yaro, Tribbett, Rosenberry, BC, even Fabinho (in his own defense 2nd way) have all played great.
    Was really happy to see Tribbett save that shot off the goal line. I was sitting on club deck so that play was coming right at me. I can tell you for sure that the play where he was called for a foul and carded was shoulder to shoulder contact. He and the crew guy were running parallel so he couldn’t have “charged him” in any way and he did not step out of the path that lead towards the ball in order to shoulder him. Others out there know more about officiating than me, but at the men’s professional level, I believe this is not even a foul, never mind a yellow card – presumably for intentionally fouling to stop a counter.
    The Casey red was a joke.
    Once again the Union were mostly great and refs absolutely horrible.
    I guess that we should count our blessings that its not the opposite…

    • it looked shoulder to shoulder to me, but if the defender is even a quarter step behind his man, the referee usually blows his whistle

  25. Dr. Union says:

    A few things I read here and a few I saw. Good game great to see Nogs back and great to get 3 points. Completely surprised the Union are doing this well hope they keep it up. A great change. However some things that worried me this game: Rosenberry and Fabi were wandering to far up field and to far in field when they pushed up. Both got caught way out of position more than once. Luckily BC has been a beast and cut out all 4 plays where I saw this happen. Meiram terrorized this defense and in the first half I feel the Union were pretty lucky not to give up more, better adjustments at half though but there were acres of space in between the outside backs and CBs and both Marquez and Tribbet kept crossing over each other causing much confusion on the defense. While Jones may not have had a great game positionally he is still sound makes most of the saves he is suppose to make. Jones needs some more game time since he seemed a little rusty, but to me positionally and his distribution were great most of the game. Another thing that worries me is when Ilsinho comes in there are more Union players standing and watching what he is going to do. I agree he has some great skill, but move to the space and he will get you the ball. The only people I saw move for Ilsinho when he got on the ball were Herbers and Barnetta, others need to be making runs and giving him options as well. Lets not get into sit and watch mode like people did with Maidana.

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