RECAP | Crew SC stretches unbeaten run to 13

It's three matches into the 2018 Major League Soccer season and Columbus Crew SC has yet to suffer defeat — maintaining momentum across 13 regular-season matches. Saturday's scoreless stalemate split points for both the Philadelphia Union and Crew SC — keeping the Black & Gold near the top of the Eastern Conference table ahead of March 24's return to MAPFRE Stadium.

Entering with an appetite for maximum points, Crew SC started the same eleven as its first two matches. The consistency produced chances (11 shots: 3 on-target/6 off-target/2 blocked), but the final ball was missing. Columbus out-possessed (51 percent) and out-passed (84 percent) the high-pressing Union.

Federico Higuain entered the match on the brink of completing his 49th MLS assist, cementing his spot in the exclusive 50-goals, 50-assists club — all with Columbus. He came close to making the historic final pass at Talen Energy Stadium (a magnificent backheel to a Gyasi Zardes breakaway in the 27th minute / a floating free kick in the 32nd / a 62nd minute feed toward Zardes) but the subsequent goal wasn't there.

Zack Steffen secured his second shutout of 2018, easily squeezing his three saves against the Union.

Crew SC will next return to MAPFRE Stadium on March 24 for an Eastern Conference clash against D.C. United at 6 p.m. ET.

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TEAM NOTES

  • Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made three saves in today’s match against the Philadelphia Union. This marked the second consecutive match in which he made three saves for the Black & Gold, bringing his season total to eight saves. Additionally, Steffen maintained a shutout for the second time this season, marking the first time that a Crew SC goalkeeper has recorded two shutouts in the first three matches of the regular season since Andy Gruenebaum accomplished this feat in 2012. Steffen’s previous shutout came in a 2-0 road victory over Toronto FC on March 3, 2018. Today’s shutout was Steffen’s 11th shutout in 37 regular-season appearances for the Black & Gold (all starts). In 2018, Steffen has made three regular-season appearances, registering two shutouts.

  • Defender Lalas Abubakar played the entire 90 minutes in today’s match against the Philadelphia
    Union. Abubakar registered 80 touches on the ball and made 72 passes with 94.4% accuracy. Abubakar also made two tackles to help the Black & Gold earn its second shutout of the 2018 MLS regular season. In 2018, Abubakar has made three regular-season appearances (all starts).                                   

  • Midfielder Niko Hansen made his 2018 regular-season debut for Crew SC in today’s match at Talen Energy Stadium, coming into the match as a substitute for Cristian Martinez in the 73rd minute. Hansen registered seven touches on the ball and made five passes during his 16 minutes of action.

  • With today’s 0-0 draw against the Philadelphia Union, Crew SC is now on a 13-match, regular-season unbeaten streak, dating back to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire on August 12, 2017. Since then, Columbus has posted a record of 8-0-5 in regular-season action, outscoring its opponents 24-11. Additionally, the Black & Gold are undefeated in the 2018 MLS regular-season, with a record of 2-0-1, having outscored its opponents 5-2.

  • Saturday's match was Crew SC’s 21st regular-season all-time match against The Philadelphia Union. With the draw, Columbus brought its regular-season record against Philadelphia to 11-8-2, and 4-6-1 on the road. Crew SC and the Union stay even on goals, 31-31, all-time.

  • With the draw in today’s match, Crew SC brought its 2018 regular-season record to 2-0-1. Next up, Crew SC hosts DC United at MAPFRE Stadium for the first of two regular-season meetings this year on Saturday, March 24th (6:00 p.m. ET / CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports*, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, English radio stream and Spanish audio broadcast available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

*Match will air on Spectrum 314/1314 (505 for Insight customers).

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