*Note: This editorial was edited by ColumbusCrewSC.com and provided by MLSsoccer.com
An impressive second-half goal from Lucas Zelarayan was the difference Wednesday night, as the Columbus Crew SC (6-1-2, 20 pts.) beat the Philadelphia Union (4-2-3, 15 pts.) 1-0 in a crucial Eastern Conference showdown at MAPFRE Stadium.
Though it was a fairly even first half, the Union had the better of the chances — particularly in a burst of action a little more than midway through the period.
First, in the 26th minute, Brenden Aaronson made a spirited run through the Crew defense, but a timely Artur block after a recovery run saved a goal. Then, a minute later, Darlington Nagbe stood sturdy on the goal line and kicked away a strong Mark McKenzie attempt to keep the score 0-0.
Zelarayan's goal opened the scoring in the 55th minute; it was the Crew's first goal in 244 minutes of action.
His shot from beyond the 18-yard-box caromed off an unlucky McKenzie, giving Union 'keeper Andre Blake no chance. Though the Union had some chances to equalize, most notably a 68th-minute Sergio Santos close-range shot that skimmed over the bar, the Crew were able to gather all three points at home.
The win marked Columbus's seventh shutout in nine games, as the Black & Gold now sit atop the Supporters' Shield standings once again with 20 points, two points ahead of Toronto FC.
Up next, Columbus remains at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 6 for a #HellisReal showdown vs. FC Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. ET on SportsTime Ohio & 97.1 FM The Fan.
By Crew SC Communications
- Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan scored the game-winning goal in tonight’s match at home against the Philadelphia Union. The Argentine’s goal came in the 55th minute, when he fired a shot from outside the box into the left upper corner of the goa. Notably, the goal was Zelarayan’s fourth regular-season goal in seven appearances (six starts), as well as his third game-winning goal of the season. In addition to netting the winner, the midfielder finished the night with two shots on target and three chances created.
- Goalkeeper Eloy Room earned his fifth shutout of the 2020 regular season in tonight’s match against the Philadelphia Union, making three saves en route to helping Crew SC notch their seventh regular-season shutout this year. Room’s first clean sheet of the 2020 regular-season came on Opening Match at home during a 1-0 victory over New York City FC (March 1) followed by shutout wins against FC Cincinnati (July 11) and New York Red Bulls (July 16) during the MLS is Back Tournament Group Stage matches before earning a shutout in a scoreless 0-0 draw against FC Cincinnati (August 29). Room is currently tied with FC Cincinnati’s Przemysław Tyton for most shutouts in MLS regular-season play with five clean sheets.
- Midfielder Pedro Santos provided his third assist of the 2020 regular-season in tonight’s match against the Philadelphia Union. Santos assisted midfielder Lucas Zelarayan’s 55th-minute goal, by setting up Zelarayan after receiving a pass from Artur. Artur was also credited with an assist, his second helper of the 2020 regular-season.
- With Lucas Zelarayan’s strike in tonight’s 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union, Crew SC continued its regular-season undefeated streak at home, which now spans eight matches. The streaks dates back to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact last year (July 20). Additionally, the Black & Gold have scored in each of its last nine matches at MAPFRE Stadium, dating back to a 2-1 defeat against Seattle Sounders FC last season (July 6).
- With the result against the Philadelphia Union, Crew SC’s record moved to 6-1-2 (20 pts.) for the 2020 MLS regular season, moving the Crew into first place in the Eastern Conference Standings as well as the Supporters’ Shield Standings.
- Up next, Crew SC faces FC Cincinnati at home on Sunday, September 6 (7:30 p.m. ET [SportsTime Ohio, FOX Sports Go App (Stream)] / Streaming online via the “Listen Live” button at 971TheFan.com / Spanish audio on ColumbusCrewSC.com).