A brace from substitute Steven Lenhart was the difference in the Columbus Crew’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Thursday night.
The lumbering blonde forward was able to power home two headed goals to put a dent in the Union’s impressive home record while helping his Eastern Conference-leading Crew bounce back from an ugly 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chivas USA last week.
Scoring on either side of halftime, Lenhart’s first strike was matched by a Sebastien Le Toux PK before the break, but the Union weren’t able to bounce back a second time.
The first half was controlled by the Union for the majority of its 45 minutes, but it was Columbus who struck first, two minutes from the whistle. Using their bread and butter, the Crew won a deep free kick which Guillermo Barros Schelotto stepped up to take.
The Argentine sent in a swinger towards Chris Seitz, who was beaten to the ball by Lenhart, who came in for injured Jason Garey. The powerful forward used the deftest of touches to nod it past the Philly 'keeper for the match’s opening tally.
Expecting to go into the half up a goal, the Crew were pegged back barely two minutes later as the Union used one of their second-half subs to their advantage.
Rookie and set piece specialist Kyle Nakazawa swung in a free kick in similar to Schelotto's moments earlier and had it land in front of no less than two Union players three yards from Will Hesmer’s line.
The ball squirted through all of them, and was eventually retrieved by Le Toux, who was subsequently brought down by Frankie Hejduk. Referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot, and the French striker cooly slotted it home on the stroke of halftime to tie the score.
Coming out much stronger in the second half, the Crew were able to grab the lead early on in much the same fashion in which they got their opener. Charging down the right wing, Emilio Renteria sent a floated ball into the box that was met by Lenhart, who again was able to head it by Seitz for his fourth goal of the year.
Philadelphia kept up the pressure until the final whistle, but weren’t able to get another ball by Hesmer.
CLB -- Steven Lenhart 3 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 7) 43
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 9 (penalty kick) 48+
CLB -- Steven Lenhart 4 (Emilio Renteria 1) 50
CLB -- Brian Carroll (caution; Reckless Foul) 37
PHI -- Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 42
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Emmanuel Ekpo (Leandre Griffit 83), Shaun Francis, Brian Carroll, Frankie Hejduk, Emilio Renteria (Duncan Oughton 73), Jason Garey (Steven Lenhart 27), Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Philadelphia Union -- Chris Seitz, Cristian Arrieta, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 77), Eduardo Coudet, Stefani Miglioranzi (Kyle Nakazawa 40), Justin Mapp (Jack McInerney 82), Alejandro Moreno, Sebastien Le Toux.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:53
CHANCE: Miglioranzi tests Hesmer