CHESTER, Penn. – Columbus Crew SC dropped the second leg of a home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Union on the road on Wednesday night, 3-0. After winning the first leg in Columbus on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium, a hotly-contested match in the City of Brotherly Love ended with the Black & Gold’s first loss since July 1.
Union midfielder Ilsinho opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a strong strike that went off the hands of Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen and found the back of the net to put Philadelphia up 1-0. Ilsinho was assisted with a bicycle kick by forward C.J. Sapong.
The Black & Gold went down a man in the 35th minute when defender Jonathan Mensah was shown a red card for tackling an on-rushing Sapong, with a penalty kick ultimately following.
Steffen executed an electrifying left-handed save on the penalty kick to keep Crew SC within striking distance. The pawed Roland Alberg's attempt and the ball rattled the crossbar and back into play. The save was the 60th of Steffen's season and career with Crew SC.
Sapong upped the Union’s lead to 2-0 in the 66th minute when he found his own rebound off the post and finished by slotting the ball into the center of the net with the defense off balance.
Crew SC went down another man when defender Lalas Abubakar became tangled with Ilsinho and was ejected in the 76th minute. The Union tacked on another goal when an Ilsinho cross was headed by Sapong before being punched home by midfielder Marcus Epps in the 81st minute.
Despite Crew SC's reduced strength for most of the match, Columbus was still hard at work in the attacking end and recorded more crosses and corners than the Union by margins of 20-16 and 9-4, respectively.
The Black & Gold also won more duels than Philadelphia by a tally of 52-41 while Steffen recorded three saves with the short-handed defense in front of him.
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Penn.)
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Logan Brown
Fourth Official: José Carlos Rivero
Weather: Partly cloudy
20’ – PHI – Ilsinho (C.J. Sapong)
66’ – PHI – C.J. Sapong
81’ – PHI – Marcus Epps (C.J. Sapong, Ilsinho)
PHI – Giliano Wijnaldum (Caution) 31’
CLB – Jonathan Mensah (Ejection) 35’
CLB – Lalas Abubakar (Caution) 36’
PHI – Raymon Gaddis – (Caution) 39’
CLB – Lalas Abubakar – (Ejection) 76’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Lalas Abubakar, Alex Crognale, Jonathan Mensah; Jukka Raitala, Wil Trapp ©, Artur (Ethan Finlay 75’), Hector Jimenez; Kekuta Manneh (Cristian Martinez 71’), Justin Meram (Mohammed Abu 55’); Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Waylon Francis, Adam Jahn, Josh Williams
Philadelphia Union: John McCarthy; Giliano Wijnaldum, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya ©; Marcus Epps (Charlie Davies 88’), Roland Alberg (Adam Najem 68’), Ilsinho (Jay Simpson 84’); C.J. Sapong
Substitutes not used: Jake McGuire, Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, Warren Creavalle
Until next year
The midweek match was the final meeting of the 2017 Major League Soccer regular season between the two clubs. The result made the all-time record between Crew SC and the Union 11-8-1 overall and 4-6-0 on the road).
With it being the only MLS match on the schedule for Wednesday evening, Columbus (10-11-1, 31 points) remained above the playoff line in the MLS Eastern Conference while Philadelphia (7-9-5, 26 points) jumped into eighth place.
Once in a
blue red moon
Wednesday was the first time that a Crew SC match saw two red cards for the Black & Gold since September 16, 2006. However, in non-league games under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, Columbus has had two matches with double red cards. The first came on June 17, 2014 in Open Cup action against the Indy Eleven and the second occurred in playoff action against the New England Revolution on November 9 of the same year.
Crew SC will next travel west for a road trip starting with a match on Saturday, July 29 against Real Salt Lake in Utah at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Black & Gold will then face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, August 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET before returning home to Columbus on Saturday, August 12 for a match against the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. ET.