CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union exploded for three goals in a six-minute span en route to an easy 3-0 victory over the visiting Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at PPL Park.
Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams and Conor Casey were the goalscorers for the Union, who snapped a two-game winless streak in the league to improve to 6-5-4 on the year.
The shorthanded Crew, chasing Philly in the Eastern Conference standings, fell to 4-5-5.
The Union’s goalscoring barrage began in the 25th minute when Carroll jumped in front of a lazy Columbus pass, cut to the right and fired a shot from distance that deflected off Crew defender Eric Gehrig and into the net.
The goal was Carroll’s first in league play this season but the defensive midfielder, who scored the game-winner a week ago in Philly’s US Open Cup win over the Ocean City Nor’easters.
Four minutes later, Carroll got in on the attack again when he flicked a Sebastien Le Toux corner to the back post, where right back Williams was waiting unmarked to volley a shot past goalie Andy Gruenebaum.
Le Toux, who was credited with a secondary assist on Williams’ goal, then added another assist when he forced a turnover, raced untouched down the sideline and played a low cross to Casey, whose diving header made it 3-0 just 31 minutes into the game.
The goal was Casey’s third of the season and the assist was Le Toux’s sixth, which put the Frenchman into the MLS lead.
The Union very nearly made it 4-0 at halftime but Golden Boot leader Jack McInerney’s header destined for goal was blocked by Crew defender Chad Barson.
The Crew, who were playing without key players Jairo Arrieta (international duty), Eddie Gaven (ACL) and Chad Marshall (hamstring), didn’t have many scoring chances of their own in the first half, save for a couple of Dominic Oduro shots.
And despite making a couple of halftime substitutions – replacing Tyson Wahl and Ben Speas with Kevan George and Aaron Schoenfeld – things didn’t get much better after the break for the Crew, who hardly threatened to dent Philly’s lead.
The Union still had most of the scoring chances in the second half, with McInerney nearly adding to his Golden Boot lead in the 49th minute and again in stoppage time, and center back Jeff Parke getting in on the action with a near-miss in the 73rd minute.
Zac MacMath made a big save on Schoenfeld in the 80th minute and pushed a free kick from Federico Higuain over the bar in the 90th minute to preserve his fourth shutout of the season.
The Union don’t have another league match until June 23 but face D.C. United in a US Open Cup match next Wednesday. The Crew head to Chicago for their next US Open Cup game the same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Brian Carroll||Continues to be rock steady more than a decade into his career. By the stats - and scoreline - this was one of his very best.|
|2||Sebastian Le Toux||Hasn't been the scoring threat that the Union expected, but his service continues to be top shelf. Two more assists puts him in the league lead.|
|3||Conor Casey||"Conor Casey at the near post" - we kind of feel like we've seen that one before. Did his usual tough hold-up work carving out space for the rest of the attackers as well.|