Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
COLUMBUS CREW vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 26, 2014 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #322)
4 p.m. ET (UniMás; TWCS-OH; TCN-Phi)
A crucial game in the makeup of the Eastern Conference playoff pairings is ahead on Sunday afternoon as the Columbus Crew play host to Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium. The Crew could finish anywhere from third to fifth in the East, coming off a second consecutive win in a 3-1 victory at the New York Red Bulls last weekend. Union will miss out on the MLS Cup Playoffs this season, putting an end to a five-game winless run last weekend in a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 25.4; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 12; pens: 12
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Crew 7 wins, 18 goals … Union 3 wins, 15 goals … Ties 1
AT CREW STADIUM (5 meetings): Crew 4 wins, 11 goals … Union 0 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
3/22: CLB 2, PHI 1 (Anor 24, 47+ -- Fernandes 62)
10/11: PHI 2, CLB 3 (Cruz 68; Wenger 75 – Finlay 78; Meram 79; Arrieta 82)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, the second meeting over the final three weeks of the campaign. The Crew hit for a record three goals in four minutes to storm back for a 3-2 victory Oct. 11 at PPL Park; Bernardo Anor scored a pair of first-half goals to lead the Crew to a 2-1 victory March 22 at Crew Stadium.
- The Crew have never lost at home to Union, with four victories and a draw in five meetings all-time in Columbus. The Crew have won three times on their six trips to Chester.
- Coaches record: Jim Curtin vs. CLB: P1 W0 L1 T0… Gregg Berhalter vs. PHI: P2 W2 L0 T0
- Union took the lead in the 68th minute. Amobi Okugo headed a Fabinho cross down into the path of second-half substitute Danny Cruz, and he rifled a shot past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark for the opener.
- Then just seven minutes the lead was doubled. Vincent Nogueira hit the post from an angled shot on the right, but Andrew Wenger followed up and was able to bundle it over the line from close range to make it 2-0 Union.
- The Crew stormed back with a record three goals in four minutes. In the 78th minute, Ethan Finlay pulled a goal back for the Crew, turning home a Hector Jimenez cross from the right flank.
- Just a minute later, the score was tied when Crew winger Justin Meram dribbled through the Union defense and fired a shot past goalkeeper Zac MacMath. Then the game-winner came in the 82nd minute, as Jairo Arrieta slid onto a Tony Tchani cross from the left flank and put it into the back of the net to complete the stunning comeback.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Carlos Valdes (Antoine Hoppenot 85), Fabinho - Amobi Okugo, Maurice Edu - Sebastien Le Toux (Pedro Ribeiro 80), Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger - Conor Casey (Danny Cruz 58).
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Hector Jimenez, Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Bernardo Anor - Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani - Ethan Finlay, Ben Speas (Emanuel Pogatetz 83), Justin Meram (Chad Barson 87) - Aaron Schoenfeld (Jairo Arrieta 73).
The Columbus Crew won their second consecutive match and clinched a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Crew are in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference, with 49 points from 33 matches.
- The Crew opener came in the 17th minute. Ethan Finlay hit a pass from the right side to Aaron Schoenfeld, and despite a lacking first touch it took him away from his marker and he turned and fired past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
- The lead was doubled in the 34th minute when Finlay raced between a pair of Red Bulls defenders and latched onto a through ball from Tony Tchani before firing home from the right side of the box.
- The Red Bulls pulled a goal back in the 58th minute. Lloyd Sam collected the ball and then impressively dribbled through a pair of defenders on the right flank, before slamming a rocket past Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark at the near post.
- But the scoreline was complete in the 79th minute as Schoenfeld completed his brace, smashing a hard shot into the back of the net from close range after a feed from Finlay.
- Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made one change to the team that came back for a 3-2 win against Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Federico Higuain came back from suspension in place of Ben Speas.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Hector Jimenez (Eric Gehrig 82), Michael Parkhurst (Emanuel Pogatetz 46), Tyson Wahl, Bernardo Anor - Ethan Finlay, Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani, Justin Meram (Chad Barson 61) - Federico Higuain - Aaron Schoenfeld.
- The Crew won for a second consecutive match and have lost just twice over their last 10 matches, with seven victories over that span dating back to Aug. 16.
- “Momentum goes a long way in the playoffs,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “I've personally been a part of that, and I've seen it before. It's something where we're thrilled to have this type of momentum as the season ends.”
- The Crew also scored three goals for a second consecutive match, the fifth time over their last 10 matches they’ve scored three goals or more. They had scored three goals in a game just twice over their first 23 games.
- “I think throughout the league, from what guys hear from players on other teams, everyone knows we play a good style of soccer,” said forward Aaron Schoenfeld. “When we finish our chances, we're a dangerous team.”
- Aaron Schoenfeld scored two goals in a game for the first time in his MLS career, in his 34th league appearance. He had two goals total for his league career before the New York match.
- “His work rate alone deserved a couple goals. You know the amount of energy expended and you know there’s nothing better when you see a player awarded for that type of intensity and that type of work so we’re proud of him and it’s great for him. He’s been working hard to get that,” said Berhalter.
- The Crew are in a position to finish in third place in the Eastern Conference and avoid the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, with a victory against Philadelphia and a Sporting Kansas City loss or draw vs. New York on Sunday.
- Ethan Finlay scored for a fourth consecutive game and has 11 goals this season – after not scoring a single goal in his first two MLS seasons. He has five goals over the last six games; all 11 of Finlay’s goals have come over the last 22 matches, since May 17.
- Finlay also added a pair of assists, his first career two-assist game and his first assists since Aug. 23. Finlay has seven assists this season after not recording a single assist in his first two MLS seasons.
- “His pace was so dangerous, you just want to get him the ball in space and defenders have to play him so honest every game,” said Schoenfeld. “So Ethan gave me two nice assists, and I told him I would take him to Hyde Park [Steakhouse].”
- Michael Parkhurst was forced to come off at halftime in favor of Emanuel Pogatetz, who made his second consecutive appearance as a substitute, both in the last two matches.
- “Michael’s back seized up on him, I don’t know what it was, it could have been that collision or it could be something out of place,” Berhalter said. “Emanuel [Pogatetz] came in under difficult conditions: up 2-0, but I think he did well with a two-goal differential.”
Philadelphia Union put an end to their winless streak after five matches, defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 33 games.
- Union opened the scoring in the 45th minute. Brian Brown played a ball out wide to Cristian Maidana, made a run between the SKC center backs and then finished a perfectly placed return cross from Maidana.
- But Sporting were level early in the second half. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath took down Soony Saad in the area in the 53rd minute to prevent a breakaway attempt, and referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot. Dom Dwyer easily converted the penalty kick for the equalizer.
- The game-winner came in the 71st minute. Shortly after coming into the game, Pedro Ribeiro hit the back of the net, easily depositing a cross from Maidana, who was sprung free down the side by Sheanon Williams.
- Union interim manager Jim Curtin made four changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew at PPL Park. Sheanon Williams, Danny Cruz, Cristian Maidana and Brian Brown all came into the side, in place of Ethan White, Fabinho, Sebastien Le Toux and Conor Casey.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis - Amobi Okugo, Vincent Nogueira (Brian Carroll 74) - Danny Cruz, Cristian Maidana (Jimmy McLaughlin 90), Andrew Wenger - Brian Brown (Pedro Ribeiro 69).
- Union snapped a five-game winless streak with the 2-1 win against Kansas City, the first victory since a three-game winning streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 6, their only consecutive wins of the season.
- “I thought it was a good performance from our guys tonight – ended the [home] season the right way for our fans and ourselves in a lot of ways. … We’re still evaluating guys going into next season,” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin. “I felt a lot of guys came up and played well tonight. A lot of effort was put in, missed some chances [where] we could of scored more goals. We limited their chances they had no shots on goal in the first half and I was proud of that.”
- Cristian Maidana set up both goals and now has 11 for the season, one shy of the single-season club record and tied for seventh-most in MLS this season.
- “He’s an important piece; he’s a guy who can change the game, a guy going to make the special play,” Curtin said. “I get on him all the time for the blind flicks and tell him if you are going to do those they better come off sometimes they still don’t. It can get frustrating but he’s special – he sees the game differently than a lot of players.”
- Brian Brown made his first start for the club following six appearances as a substitute, and scored his second MLS goal, his first coming on Aug. 1, also against Sporting KC.
- “I love it here,” Brown said. “I love the team, the guys, the fans, the atmosphere – I love everything here in Philly. And I want to come back here next season, definitely. I hope they decide to keep me or get me on the next loan. … To score against the defending champion, that’s a great thing. It’s good to score my two goals against Kansas City. That’s a pretty good feeling right now.”
- Said Curtin: “We were outnumbered three attackers to seven [defenders], and Brian made a play. That’s kind of what he does. He scores goals. He didn’t get the chance to do it as much as he would have liked, but I think the future is still bright for Brian.”
- Rookie Pedro Ribeiro came off the substitutes’ bench in place of Brown for his seventh consecutive appearance and scored his second career goal, his first coming Sept. 13 vs. New York.
- “Pedro is a guy who I’d say is playing out of position – he’s not a true forward or No. 9. He’s better underneath, and he’d be a lot better because he can pass. To have a guy in the attacking spots that can run and stretch the field and get behind and that gives him more space too by giving him a speed option up there, so that’s something we’ll look to,” Curtin said. “We do sometimes use two forwards with a Casey and a fast guy running off him. But I do see Pedro as a guy who’s better suited physically sized-wise, who’s not the fastest. He is a soccer player he can make a final pass, he can get a goal, he can shoot from distance – something that we to be honest lack, a goal-scoring midfielder.”
- Sheanon Williams returned to the lineup following a two-match absence, playing at right back, and contributing his fourth assist of the campaign.
- Danny Cruz made his first start since Sept. 13, when he was forced off early with an injury. Cruz had made three consecutive substitute appearances.