Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

photo: Ryan Griffith

David Accam scored twice in the first half and Ilsinho added a third  just after halftime as an undermanned Philadelphia Union side cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Crew. The win was the first of the season for the Union, who now have four points through four games.

Jim Curtin was forced into three changes from last week’s draw in Atlanta. Accam replaced Cory Burke, Ilsinho replaced Warren Creavalle, and Carlos Miguel Coronel came in for Andre Blake, all of whom were away with their respective national teams. Jamiro Montiero’s paperwork was not complete in enough time for the new signing to make his first appearance. The Union only fielded five players on their bench due to the man power shortage caused by injuries, national team call ups, and suspensions.

After a listless opening half hour, the Union broke the deadlock through Accam. Jack Elliott did well to step and win a ball just inside the Columbus half. A quick pass forward found Fafa Picault in space down the center, and the striker drove at the Columbus backline. Accam was quick to make a run in behind down the left side, and Picault found him perfectly in stride. With only the keeper to beat, Accam did well and rolled a low shot past Joe Bendik and in off the far post.

Columbus almost answered back quickly in the 36th minute, but Kai Wagner was aware and able to head a flicked on corner kick off the line and away to safety.

Philadelphia would double their lead in the 41st minute as Accam netted his second. Haris Medunjanin did well to win the ball inside the Columbus half. The midfielder played a one-two with Alejandro Bedoya in the center of the park before spotting the run of Accam in behind the Columbus defense. The Ghanian initially misplayed the ball and a Crew defender got a poke to the ball before Accam was able to win it back. The winger took a touch toward goal and then toe-poked a shot past Bendik from six yards out.

The Union would made it a three goal lead just after halftime. Kai Wagner did well to win the ball down the left side, deep in Columbus territory. The left back flung in cross toward Picault, but the striker couldn’t work himself free and the ball skipped by. David Accam kept the play alive, moving the bouncing ball to Ilsinho cutting in from the right and the Brazilian made no mistake, slamming a half volley in off the crossbar.

Olivier Mbaizo and Anthony Fontana both made their season debuts as the second half wore on with few chances for either side.

Philadelphia next travels to expansion side FC Cincinnati for the two clubs first MLS meeting next Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Three points
  • Welcome back David Accam. The winger had a relatively quiet night but made his touches count when he got them, scoring twice with two clever finishes.
  • Undermanned? Union step up. With only five players on the bench and a host of other players missing through injury, suspension, or international call-ups, the players that were available put in a shift and cruised to a 3-0 win.
  • The Haris of old. After some shaky defensive performances to start the season, Haris Medunjanin put in a really solid shift and was involved in two of the three goals with a strong night of passing from deep.

Philadelphia Union
Carlos Miguel Coronel, Ray Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Kai Wagner, Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho (Olivier Mbaizo 75′), Alejandro Bedoya, Brenden Aaronson (Anthony Fontana 81′), Fafa Picault, David Accam
Unused subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Mark McKenzie

Columbus Crew
Joe Bendik, Gaston Sauro, Hector Jimenez, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Ricardo Clark, Artur (Luis Argudo 65′), Robinho (Eduardo Sosa 84′), Pedro Santos, Federico Higuain, Patrick Mullins (Jerome Williams 54′)
Unused subs: Lalas Abubakar, Josh Williams, Connor Maloney, Jon Kempin

Scoring summary

PHI — David Accam – 31′ (Fafa Picault, Haris Medunjanin)
PHI — David Accam – 41′
PHI — Ilsinho – 48′ (David Accam)

Misconduct summary

CLB — Gaston Sauro (unsporting behavior) 68′


  1. Kai Wagner is great.

  2. Accam just said post game interview he lost his father last week. JP was taken aback by that reveal. Makes his drop to the ground after first goal more than just relief. Condolences

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Agree with James: Kai Wagner IS GREAT.
    Good for Accam. Condolences to him for his loss. Strikers finish the chances they get and he did that tonight.
    Kudos to our boys for showing up and playing well with a short handed team. This is the kind of game that can start a run.
    Please play Mbaizo next week. I love Ray but he just doesn’t contribute at all offensively.

    • Hmmm… I thought Ray had a good game on both sides of the ball, actually. He was forward a lot more than I remember from “Ray 1.0”.
      That said, I’d prefer starting Mbaizo.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      The U asked Ray to almost play as an inverted winger in this match. He was tighter to the midfield than Bedoya and Ilsinho quite a bit and he acquitted himself well.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    (Nothing But Flowers) from me tonight.
    can’t do a thing, think a thing, hope for a thing if you can’t keep a clean sheet- so congratulations on a zero score line against. most important outcome tonight.
    nit pick some things…but that comes later. enjoy getting healthy.

  5. Generous rating for Haris. His touches in the final third were horrible. Aside from a great standing tackle early, he mere waved his foot at attacker’s and committed unnecessary fouls as a result. I don’t feel that his passes from deep offset his liabilities anymore. He feels like a net-negative on the field.

    • I actually have to disagree. For maybe the first time this year Haris was actually playing a bit of defense. Especially pressuring higher up the field, he made more than a few smart tackles. Also while no even gaining a card. Now his passes into the box weren’t great, but his overall performance was way beyond what we’ve seen from him in a long time.
      This in no way changes my belief Haris shouldn’t start.

    • I agree with All4U. Haris had his best game of the season, and seemed more interested in the defensive work he’s been shirking so far this year. I’m not clear, though, if that was as a result of his play, or Columbus’s.
      I’d like to see Jones get the start there; the ideal situation would be if the Union could arrange a transfer for Haris once Europe’s summer window opens. Until then, I don’t think we’ll see anything.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Haris was 5th worst on the team in passing accuracy. He played some truly crucial balls and also gave possession away needlessly and without pressure far too often.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Glad to see the Union finish some touches.
    Can’t wait to see people criticize Curtin for the lineup he put out there.
    Even though it probably ended up helping the Union because Accam wouldn’t have played otherwise, I still think having to play during the international window was BS as was the extra game given to Fabian (especially when it’s not decided in a timely manner so the team can prepare for it). I don’t know why I expect more from MLS.

  7. Great game for Accam, so happy for him. Condolences about his father. It was nice to see Jim go back to the 4-2-3-1. I think the team took to it well being short on options. Quite pleased with the overall performance.

  8. They played well and Columbus never looked interested. Take what they give ya.
    Accam was fast, like maybe not a guy with a hernia fast.
    Kai played very well.
    Haris was more effective because he actually ran. His deep balls weren’t from that deep because he was much more adventurous.
    One of the few games Ale stood out for me, he and The Kid played well off each other.
    No complaints on Jim’s lineup but he needed to sub Brendan out after 75’. He was gassed and getting pummeled. He could’ve subbed out Haris too with McKenzie(or move Elliot up).
    Away to Cincy with Fabián and Jamiro (assumes they sort the -1 intl spot issue, Elliott to BSFC?) will now be interesting. To me, Monteiro is piece of the puzzle this team needed. Potentially Nogs-like passing with size and bite.
    To quote another former PHL coach,”We need more Jam(iro)”.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I read somewhere that the solution to the International spot is a green card for Burke. If that doesn’t go through, wouldn’t it make sense to send one of the injured forwards to BSFC rather than Elliott.
      I think Curtin was right to wait as long as possible to bring Fontana in since you didn’t have any alternatives in case of injury. Let’s say you bring Fontana in 5 minutes earlier and worse case scenario happens, Bedoya gets hurts. What do you do then?

      • Great game by the U last night! The Crew were out of sorts all night. Nothing better than seeing Higuain mid second half, hands on his knees, shaking his head after another good run fizzles out. Condolences to the Accam family. Happy he was able to have a good game and find the back of the net! Twice!

  9. A good win is the best response to the corruption in MLS. My sincere thoughts and prayers go out David Accam and his family for their loss.

  10. Nice win against an absolutely dreadful Columbus team. They are putrid. If Inlove din Columbus, I’d be suing to force them to go.

  11. el Pachyderm says:

    19 lousy comments?
    If this team loses 0-3 last night there are 75 lined up to crucify or call for his head.
    Check in… Drop a line. Be authentic. Not someone who just enjoys bitching.
    They won Philly. 3 points.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      ***thinks the same thing***

    • It was the ugliest 3-0 win I’ve ever seen. A lot of people probably don’t know what to make of it, other than thoughts/praise for David Accam.

      • ^^^^BINGO.

        I mean, FFS, we had only FIVE GUYS ON THE BENCH. I thought this was professional soccer team.

        Now, no complaining about the result, nor the effort. And the guy I malign the most, Haris, played great defense last night. And Accam, who’s been invisible during his Union tenure, shows up with 2 goals and an assist. What’s it mean? About as much as William Barr’s letter, that’s what. I’m waiting on a fuller report.

  12. 20 lousy comments

  13. If you told me to start the season that we’d have 4 points after 4 games I’d have been upset. After that horrific start though the 4 points seems like disaster averted.

    Wagner was fantastic Saturday night – his runs were great – nice delivery and very good ball control. He also recovered well. He seems to be working well with Trusty. Great to have a solid LB 🙂

    Haris finally showed up for the U but I still felt his play was uneven. He had some nice passes and good vision but too many turnovers and badly timed challenges that took him out of the play.

    Wonder if Arronson was putting too much pressure on himself … his touch seemed heavy – still showed flashes of brilliance and quick / smart decisions – but wasn’t as strong as his first start.

    The game changed when the midfield started delivering through balls to Accam and Fafa instead of working the corners. W/o Burke to win headers and / or play hold up they needed that shift.

    Is it just me or has Ilsinho lost a step? I would think Accam earned the start and he could take his spot.

    There’s been ‘talk’ of keeping Arronson in the 10 and moving Fabian up top. Not sure I agree but I would be interested to see how this shape would work:

    Fabian / Fafa
    Accam / Arronson / Montiero
    Wagner / Trusty / Elliot / Gaddis

    It would be a super small and fast attacking lineup for sure … and not at all Curtin like to make changes like that 🙂

  14. Good win.
    Haris still fails to impress. Put some good balls into good areas but how many were wayward? How oft has he misplaced his feet? Has anyone watched Jonesy with the U23s? He looks good. He was directly responsible for giving up one goal but every player whiffs. Jones will be the destroyer Haris cannot be.
    Wagner extinguished Afful. A gem of a performance. He’s the man of the season thus far.
    Proud of Accam for finding the strength to put in such a shift. It was unfair how Chicago offloaded him injured. I hope to see him again soon. He has electric feet and a nose for goal.
    Gaddis was again serviceable but I’m ready for Mbazio.
    Aaronson could’ve come out earlier. He was run ragged.

  15. Jones came on as s sub in U23s loss to Egypt. Haris had one of his best games in the blue an gold. He bossed the midfield, directed traffic, managed the kids, and fed the front line.
    We are all anxious for Jones to be given a chance but I have to argue that by this point he has been given many chances and his lack of 1st team minutes is not just on Curtin. MLS is resembling the NFL coaching structure more and more these days with each line (D, MF, F) having their own assistant coach.
    Jonesy is still young and has a ton of potential but mentally something is not clicking, and looking good in USL or U23 does not automtically translate to 1st team level. There are plenty of examples of this with the U in the last 10 years.
    Where are they now? Okugo, Yaro, Leo Fernandes, – all in USL. Look at Jimmy McLaughlin- one of the U’s first homegrowns. Makes a splash in Cincy when they are in USL and now is not even making their game day 18. Jones still has time, but he may best be suited for USL.

    • I guess another way to look at is if Jones is ready for prime time, why do you bring in Jamiro Monteiro?

    • To be fair, McLaughlin was one of the few players Cincy kept from USL roster to MLS roster, then he seriously hurt his knee in January, hence him not making the 18 – but the point is fair re: the other players.

      Starting to think more along with this train of thought on Jones. He’s been The Next Big Thing for how many seasons now? He’s had great moments, and not great moments, which are all growing pains for sure. But if we’ve got young CBs and #10s that are all coming in and making the most of their opportunities and he is not…

  16. Kai Wagner and Aaronson are players. Not starting Aaronson going forward would be a mistake. Aaronson did look shakey with some heavy balls/incomplete passes. Mbaizo, from the little I saw, has the skills to start, although I think Gaddis had his best game of the season. Trust and Elliot actually looked to defend as one, which was nice to see.

    All this being said, The Crew looked very poor. They literally gave the game to the Union. I’ve never seen us dominate and possess the ball so well. Passing and positioning was on point. Exciting 3-0 points, hope we can build on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *