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Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

Jack Elliott, Alejandro Bedoya, and Leon Flach were all on target as the ten men of the Philadelphia Union defeated Columbus Crew 3-0 at Subaru Park on Sunday afternoon. Kai Wagner was dismissed after his second yellow card in the 64th minute with the Union leading 2-0. But Andre Blake was at his best, saving a penalty kick in the 75th minute and making a top class save on Darlington Nagbe soon after as the Union kept their clean sheet.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that drew with New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. Daniel Gazdag came in and started at the top of the diamond, with Jamiro Monteiro moving to the left and Leon Flach moving to the suspended Jose Martinez’ position in defensive midfield. Alvas Powell started at right back as Olivier Mbaizo missed out after the death of his father.

Philadelphia would take the lead in the 25th minute through Elliott. Sergio Santos was fouled 30 yards from goal, close to the center of the field. Elliott lined up the free kick, and his low, curling shot avoided the wall and snuck into the lower left corner of Evan Bush’s goal.

The Union would double their lead just after halftime through Bedoya. Leon Flach did well to win the ball back inside the Union half and found Bedoya on the right side for Philadelphia to counterattack. Bedoya drove forward toward the center of the pitch and dished a pass wide right to Przybylko. The striker hit a low cross that found Bedoya making a late run into the box and the captain made no mistake, sliding his first time shot into the lower left corner from 8 yards out.

Philadelphia could have made it 3-0, but Przybylko just couldn’t finish beyond Bush after Santos found his strike partner open in the box in the 63rd minute.

Kai Wagner would be dismissed in the 64th minute for his second yellow card. The defender saw yellow in the first half when it looked like he won the ball but caught a Crew player with the follow through. Wagner would receive his marching orders when he obstructed Luis Diaz as the midfielder pushed the ball past him.

Columbus would earn a penalty kick in the 74th minute. Alvas Powell was adjudged to have fouled Gyasi Zardes as the ball was played over the top for the Crew striker. Zardes got a touch on the ball before Powell made contact and referee Victor Rivas pointed to the penalty spot.

Pedro Santos stepped up to take the penalty and fired a hard shot to Andre Blake’s left that the goalkeeper did well to push aside and deny the spot kick.

Blake kept the score at 2-0 with a phenomenal save in the 80th minute. The ball fell to Darlington Nagbe on the top of the box and the midfielder fired a ferocious half volley toward the top right corner of Blake’s goal, but the goalkeeper pushed the shot aside at full extension.

Leon Flach would tally his first goal of the season and fully secure the points in the 89th minute. The midfielder would gather the ball at the top of the box after Quinn Sullivan’s cross found him. His hard shot was straight at the hands of Evan Bush, but the goalkeeper couldn’t corral the shot and it squirted through his hands and into the back of the net.

The win pushes the Union up to 3rd in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Nashville with a game in hand. Philadelphia is next in action on Saturday when they travel to Eastern Conference bottom dwellers Cincinnati (8 p.m.).

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Alvas Powell (Nathan Harriel 90+1′), Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Jesus Beuno 90+1′), Jamiro Monteiro, Daniel Gazdag (Quinn Sullivan 68′), Sergio Santos (Stuart Findlay 78′), Kacper Przybylko
Subs: Joe Bendik, Anthony Fontana, Davo, Jack McGlynn, Paxten Aaronson

Columbus Crew

Evan Bush, Jonathan Mensah, Aboubacar Keita (Luis Diaz 53′), Josh Williams, Marion Hairston (Liam Fraser 67′), Darlington Nagbe, Milton Valenzuela (Derrick Etienne 53′), Steven Moreira (Saad Abdul-Salaam 67′), Gyasi Zardes, Lucas Zelarayan, Pedro Santos (Miguel Berry 83′)
Subs: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Waylon Francis, Eric Dick, Isaiah Parente

Scoring Summary

PHI: Jack Elliott – 25′
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya – 46′ (Przybylko)
PHI: Leon Flach 89′ (Sullivan)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Kai Wagner – 35′ (foul)
PHI: Kai Wagner – 64′ (foul – red card/second yellow)
CLB: Pedro Santos 66′ – (foul)
PHI: Alvas Powell – 74′ (foul)
PHI: Sergio Santos – 78′ (time wasting)


  1. How about Sullivans rainbow to himself though right before the assist.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Good all around effort. Should see a LOT of changes Saturday.

    • I expect six international absences: Martinez (Venezuela), Gazdag (Hungary), Monteiro (Cape Verde), plus the three already listed on the MLS Website Blake and Powell (Jamaica) and Mbaizo (Cameroon).
      And Wagner will be suspended.
      Ilsinho will probably still be out as will Cory Burke, and of course three of the 31 are away on loan. And Brandan Craig has never dressed, even when they were noticeably short-handed on the bench September 3rd against New England.
      They will play Cincinnati with 18 players available, barring injury this week in practice.

      • Essentially the same situation as last month against New England except Burke is hurt rather than away (although I haven’t yet seen confirmation on Gazdag, Monteiro, or Martinez).

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Update…Gazdag, Martinez, and Monteiro have been confirmed being called up on the Union website.

  3. Great all around performance. Team should feel terrific. Played straight through some serious adversity.

  4. I’m sure my opinion will be an unpopular one, but we are a better team with Flach at HM than Martinez.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Not unpopular with me at all, I agree 100%. (OK, I may disagree with you on the use of we/they, but that was discussed in the comments in an article earlier in the week.)

    • I’d like two see the team with Flach at the 6 and Martinez in Bedoya’s usual spot.

      • This is a lineup idea that has intrigued me ever since watching Martinez play with Venezuela during the Copa America. I do wonder if we’d miss Martinez’ ball skills and passing at the 6 though.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Yeah but at the same time Martinez likes taking on defenders and that’s much less dangerous at the 8. It’s definitely worth a try but Curtin ain’t gonna do it. Especially next week, he’s not benching Bedoya unless he’s injured. We know this for sure by now.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Martinez will likely be in South America next in which case Curtin can be excused for not try to play him at the 8.

  5. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I still believe Martinez is a top 3 CDM in MLS, I really do. But… this game proved that he could be surplus. Flach is so obviously more comfortable at the 6. That’s the real foundation of his future. If Europe calls for Martinez, we gotta answer.
    Well, well, well… Monteiro looked much more in tune at the 8. Who would’ve guessed? And I thought Gazdag and Bedoya had very good games too.
    Blake is the obvious MotM. The wheels were ready to come off, but they never did.
    Great counter attacking. Seems like a stupid statement to have to vocalize but this team is so much better absorbing pressure while leading than trying to chase the game. We need early goals more often. Duh. We don’t have 2019 Ilsinho attacking tired legs.
    All around, I don’t think any individual played poorly. First time in a while I can say that. Credit to Santos for stretching the field for everyone.
    It’s painfully obvious how talented Sullivan is. He’s such a creator on the wing. I know Aaronson and McGlynn have earned minutes but Sullivan is the one we need more of when the game is on the line down the stretch. Also happy Bueno finally got game time.

  6. When they score first they just win. I guess I don’t really understand what is meant by “ we are not built to come from behind”, but if they could shake that problem (and they have had that problem for years it seems) they would be top tier.

  7. I sit next to the Union bench. In the second half when most of the subs were warming up Bueno was on the bench. Curtin saw him there and started yelling and gesturing for him to go warm up with several gestures indicating he should hurry. Bueno seemed uninterested and slowly got up and sauntered down to the warm up area. Not sure what that was about but might not be a good sign.

    Also, Evan Bush had a horrible game in goal for Columbus. Good stop on Kasper’s attempt and no chance on the Bedoya goal but man, 1 and 3 were howlers. Not the reason the Union won and glad the U made them pay for their mistakes but can’t count on that for future games. Maybe this will help encourage the team to take more shots in future games. Just need them to be on goal and not into row 13.

  8. We got very lucky on the 2nd goal. Kacper was 100000000% offside, the fact it didn’t get called back is actually shocking. Offside by a good yard right infront of the linesman too.

    BUT Performances were very good. Powell actually looked solid out there. Gazdag finally had a game where I noticed good things, and not just bad. Wagner yellow card was preventable and a really bad decision for him to make. Could’ve been very costly if Columbus had any attacking sense this game.

    • I don’t recall seeing Pryzbylko offside, but I wasn’t paying close attention. Doesn’t MLS review all goals for offside regardless? Would imagine if he were offside, the goal would be struck. Just curious.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      I thought so too, Jason, but again we didn’t get to see any replay that would have clarified the call. Considering the other calls that were made and not reviewed, I’m surprised this one stood without a glance.

  9. Interesting that Curtin made an apparent formation change in the 78th minute when Findlay came on, Looked an awful lot like three center backs with Powell and Flach as the wing back/mids in the outside channels.
    Given Wagner’s absence this coming Saturday in Cincinnati, we might see that formation, because the top three outside backs will all be missing – two internationals and a suspension.
    It would not surprise me if Curtin wants a third center back on the pitch behind Harriel and either Flach or possibly Matt Real returning from the wilderness.
    It was a really gutsy effort by guys playing the third game in eight days.

  10. Even though it was not full there was a great atmosphere in the stadium; really enjoyed the game! Another shutout for Blake who must be leading the league with shutouts. And it took 2 great saves to get the shutout. Was tight but don’t think Kasper was offside on the 2nd goal (his run happened right in front of me).

    • For some reason, hasn’t listed Blake on the shutout leaders all season (even when he was number 1), but assuming they aren’t missing anyone else, he’s tied for 3rd. Willis in Nashville is 1st with 12 and Yarbrough in Colorado is 2nd.

  11. The Park was pretty loud for the crowd. Its funny having discussions about supporters groups then looking around the SOB section and how empty it seems. Guess I haven’t really noticed.

    The U played well! I thought they looked better down a man! No knock on Wagner, but it showed the rest of the squad was focused on the win. Blake continued to show off his skills! Just happy hes here and not off to Europe just yet.

    Did anyone else think its strange that no striker scored?? I mean Elliott from a free kick?
    The Captain from a late run…BTW he was not looking gassed at 60 minutes.
    And no offence Flach from a settled cross???
    Just saying..

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