Monday, March 24, 2014

Union come up short in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio – The Philadelphia Union fell to Columbus Crew, 2-1 on the road Saturday night as a second-half goal from Leo Fernandes wasn’t enough to come back from a 2-0 first-half deficit.

The Union totaled 19 attempts on goal for the night, with a majority coming during the second half.

“I thought we had plenty of chances to get the second one through and it just didn’t fall for us,” said team manger John Hackworth. “It was a little bit of a chess match because what they wanted to do was spread us out and every time they were able to break us down they took advantage of their chances and every time we were able to win the ball in a good spot, we at least had an opportunity to create a scoring chance…we have to take care of these turnovers because you can see that when it happens, we get punished for it. It’s something we will definitely touch on as a team and look to correct.”

A pair of first half goals from Columbus forward Bernardo Anor put the Union in a 2-0 hole that they were unable to overcome, despite the second-half rally and goal in the 62nd minute from Fernandes, a second-half substitution.

Fernandes netted his first goal in Major League Soccer, pouncing on a low driven ball across the box from Sebastien Le Toux and getting plenty of boot on it to get past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark. Le Toux repaid the favor from a week earlier when it was Fernandes that beat his defender down the flank and found an onrushing Le Toux in the box.

“I am very happy that I got my first goal in MLS, but I’m very disappointed in the result,” said Fernandes, postgame. “I thought we should have at least tied the game up and we had plenty of opportunities to do so in the second half, but sometimes that’s just soccer.”

The Union kept the pressure on full steam ahead in the second half, and nearly earned the second goal in the 67th minute when Fernandes collected the ball into space and sent a driven ball of his own into the box that a streaking McInerney narrowly missed back post. From the 60th minute on, it was the Union creating the majority of the chances, sending as many as three as forwards to support the target striker on the attack.

“They had two chances in the first half and both of those chances were goals,” said Union midfielder Brian Carroll. “Both of them came off situations that we could have been a little bit cleaner with. Any time you go down on the road, two down and can come back from the half, pull one back and continue to fight through the end of the game that’s a good step forward.”

Converted central defender Aaron Wheeler filled in for an injured Austin Berry and, much like he did when the Union battled the Crew in preseason play, was strong in the air and made some big clearances out of the Union 18-yard-box.

Despite having a number of players missing in action for this one, the Union showed resilience and an ability to create chances. In a win over New England in the club’s home opener, Hackworth said that he wanted his club to play more of a complete match from start to finish. In the end, it truly was the Union looking to finish out Columbus and steal back points in the closing moments.

The Union look to return to winning ways on Saturday, March 29 in a return to PPL Park to face Eastern Conference foes Montreal (4 p.m.).

BOX SCORE

Columbus Crew 2, Philadelphia Union 1,

Saturday, March 22; 6:00 p.m. ET

Columbus Crew Stadium

Columbus, Ohio

SCORING SUMMARY

CLB: Anor 24’ (Higuain)

CLB: Anor 45+2’ (Trapp)

PHI: Fernandes 62’ (Le Toux)

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

PHI: Fabinho 74’ (yellow)

CLB: Higuain 81’ (yellow)

UNION STARTING 11

MacMath, Fabinho, Okugo, Wheeler, Gaddis, Carroll, Edu, Nogueira, Maidana (Fernandes 55’), McInerney (Hoppenot 72’), Le Toux (Cruz 80’).


CREW STARTING 11

Clark, Williams, Gonzalez, Parkhurst, Francis, Jimenez, Trapp, Tchani, Anor (Meram 80’), Higuain (Barson 92’), Arrieta (Oduro 66’).
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