Following Columbus Crew SC's 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, July 22, at MAPFRE Stadium, Major League Soccer announced that Homegrown Player and central defender Alex Crognale was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week. Game-winning goal scorer Justin Meram was named to the Team of the Week bench for his performance — including his career-high ninth goal of the season.
Crognale, a first-year Homegrown Player from Gahanna, Ohio, started his ninth game of the season (13th appearance) and played the full 90 minutes in the Black & Gold clean sheet. Saturday was the sixth time that the 6-foot-5 defender participated in a Crew SC shutout win. The 22-year-old finished the match with a shot on goal, 29 successful passes within the defensive half of the pitch and an interception, clearance and tackle won.
Meram coolly finished his ninth goal of the season, securing all three points for the home side in the 65th minute. He finished the match with the one goal, 29 completed passes in the attacking half of the field, and three successful take-ons with the ball. Meram's started 20 of 21 games he's appeared in this season, helping Crew SC to 6-0-0 record when he scores.
The Black & Gold tallied 11 total shots compared to the Union’s three. Crew SC narrowly won the possession battle with a margin of 50.4 percent and passed more accurately than Philadelphia by a deficit of 85.2 percent to 83.3 percent
The match was the first leg of a home-and-home series with the Union that will close on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The 1-0 win had great significance regarding the MLS Eastern Conference standings for Columbus (10-10-1, 31 points), who catapulted themselves above the line and into playoff position. Philadelphia (6-9-5, 23 points), who entered the match in ninth place, failed to gain ground on the teams above them.
Columbus Crew SC will travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 26 to play the Union once again at 7:30 p.m. ET before traveling west to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on the road. The Black & Gold return home on Saturday, August 12 to battle the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.