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A Hard-Fought Point in Columbus

With this tie against Columbus , The Union have drawn their last five matches in league play.

(Photo Courtesy of Isla News.)

Starting XI's:

Columbus Crew: Patrick Schulte, Malte Amundsen, Rudy Camacho, Steven Moreira, Yaw Yeboah, Aidan Morris (Christian Ramirez), Darlington Nagbe, Julian Gressel (Mo Farsi), Diego Rossi, Alexandru Matan (Kevin Molino), Cucho

Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake, Kai Wagner (Matt Real), Damion Lowe, Jack Elliott, Nathan Harriel, Olivier Mbaizo, Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno, Alejandro Bedoya (Daniel Gazdag), Chris Donovan (Mikael Uhre), Quinn Sullivan (Julian Carranza)

Goal Scoring Summary:

50' Nathan Harriel

72' Cucho (PK)

First Half Recap:

Coming into the game, the Union knew that Columbus would have the majority of the ball because Columbus are ranked first in possession in the league, while the Union are ranked twenty-sixth in the league. As expected, Columbus started on the front foot early on. Chances by Rossi and Cucho troubled the Union, but Andre Blake came to the rescue on both occasions. The first eighteen minutes or so was all Columbus, but the Union was able to weather the storm and generate some opportunities of their own. However, these chances by Elliott and Sullivan both missed the target. Around the thirty-third minute, Columbus had a golden opportunity to take the lead. A great flick-on by Gressel found Moreira who spotted an open Cucho in the box, but his shot was low and right at Blake. Columbus continued to knock on the door, looking for the go-ahead goal. They were unable to find a goal as the score remained 0-0 entering into half-time, which benefitted the Union.

Second Half Recap:

Jim Curtin made three subs at halftime, something that was most likely never seen before. The front three of Gazdag, Uhre, and Carranza, were brought in for Bedoya, Donovan, and Sullivan. The first real chance of the second half came on a Union corner. A perfect ball by Wagner was headed home by Harriel from close range, giving the Union a shock lead in Columbus. Minutes later, Blake denied Matan the equalizer with a diving save. The Union thought they doubled their lead at the sixty-forth minute, but Carranza was rightfully deemed offside. A minute later, Carranza broke free of the last Colmbus defender and was dragged down from behind. Instead of calling the foul, the ref played advantage and allowed Uhre to get the ball, but he was unable to capitalize. This was a very controversial decision by the ref not giving a red card to Amundsen, who brought down Carranza. Columbus pushed for an equalizer and soon found one. A handball by Elliott in the box gave Cucho a penalty, which he scored for his fourteenth goal of the campaign. In the dying moments, Ramirez argued that Elliott dragged him down in the box, but the referee disagreed, leaving the match ending 1-1.

3 Points to Note:

  1. A tired Union got the job done. This was the Union's 45th game this season and although they were tired they marched out of Columbus with a point. The lineup was questionable in the beginning by Curtin, but ultimately proved to be the right decision. Curtin made accurate and needed subs that helped the Union get a point.

  2. The defense was solid. In these types of high intensity games, the Union always seem to match the other teams intensity for some reason. Blake came up huge with eight saves. Harriel was brilliant filling in at center-back and Lowe was solid. The Union were able to thwart most of Columbus's chances by clearing the ball long.

  3. A tale of two teams. Columbus are known for their exciting style of play under Nancy, which is only possible due to the players that they have. Unlike the Union, Columbus's front office actually goes out and fills gaps in their team. For example, immediately after selling star player Lucas Zelarayan, Columbus signed Rossi in return. In addition, they brought in Gressel, Camacho, Amundsen, all in a matter of months. It seems like the Union do the opposite in the sense that they have loaned out Perea, Craig, and Odada.

My Player Ratings:

Andre Blake: 8.5

Kai Wagner: 8

Damion Lowe: 8

Jack Elliott: 5

Nathan Harriel: 9

Olivier Mbaizo: 4

Jack McGlynn: 5

Jesus Bueno: 8

Alejandro Bedoya: 7

Chris Donovan: 5

Quinn Sullivan: 5

Daniel Gazdag: 5

Mikael Uhre: 4

Julian Carranza: 6

Matt Real: 5

Next Match:

The Philadelphia Union return home on Wednesday, October 4th, to face a well-rested Atlanta United.

Ben Brecher

Twitter: @BenBrecher18


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