ORLANDO - The Black & Gold put together their most comprehensive preseason performance to date on Wednesday afternoon, as Robert Warzycha's side netted four goals against MLS Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. This is the Crew's second consecutive victory in the tournament, with the club now 4-1-0 in preseason play against MLS opposition.
Wednesday's starting lineup was composed primarily of last Saturday's second half players in the 1-0 win over Toronto FC. The one exception was rookie striker Ryan Finley, who started both contests. Finley struck first for the Crew in the 28th minute, taking a Justin Meram through ball and skirting around Philadelphia's backline to tap the ball into an empty net.
Nine minutes later Ethan Finlay netted the first of his two goals, sending the Crew into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Finlay struck again in the 51st minute, with Eddie Gaven providing the assist. Wednesday's match was the first game action for Gaven following the birth of his second child.
Finlay provided service from the left flank on Aaron Schoenfeld's header in the 53rd minute - the fourth and final goal of the contest.
Said Finlay of his two-goal and one-assist performance, "We had some good build-up play and I was on the end result of two [goals] and had the helper on one...I was on the end of some good balls out there, and I'm pretty happy with today's game. I want to work towards breaking into that starting lineup and continue pushing my teammates."
LISTEN: Complete Ethan Finlay Interview
Warzycha made wholesale changes to his lineup in the 61st minute, with only second half substitute Eddie Gaven remaining on the field. Nine of the other ten players were starters in the Toronto game last weekend, with the exception of striker Jairo Arrieta. The Costa Rican player made his first preseason appearance for the Black & Gold following time away with his national team during the Copa Centroamericana and 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Overall, Warzycha was happy with Wednesday's performance, "I think both groups played very well today - they were very solid. There are still some things we have to work on to get better, but overall I think it was a good performance."
The Crew continues play in the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday against USL Pro side Orlando City. The match kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET at ESPN's Wide World of Sports and will be streamed live via MLSsoccer.com and TheCrew.com/Preseason.
CLB - Finley (Meram) 28'
CLB - Finlay (Warzycha) 39'
CLB - Finlay (Gaven) 50'
CLB - Schoenfeld (Finlay) 53'
PHI - Hoppenot (Caution) 44'
Columbus Crew: Matt Lampson (Andy Gruenebaum, 61); Drew Beckie*(Josh Williams, 61), Eric Gehrig (Chad Marshall, 61), Kevan George (Gláuber, 61), Chad Barson (Tyson Wahl, 61); Ethan Finlay (Dominic Oduro, 61), Danny O'Rourke (Kyle Hyland**, 46; Agustín Viana, 61), Tony Tchani (Matías Sánchez, 61), Justin Meram (Ben Speas, 33; Federico Higuaín, 61); Konrad Warzycha**(Eddie Gaven, 46), Ryan Finley (Aaron Schoenfeld, 33; Jairo Arrieta, 61)
Philadelphia Union: Chase Harrison (Chris Konopka, 65): Shaun Francis** (Damani Richards**, 46), Eric Schoenle*, Don Anding*, Greg Jordan; Michael Lahoud (Hristov**, 65), Leo Fernandes*(Roger Torres, 73), Stephen Okai*(Alex Mendoza, 65), Antoine Hoppenot (Jordi Vidal**, 65); Chandler Hoffman, Jimmy McLaughlin
*Draft pick **Trialist