PPL Park had a very passionate vibe last night as both the players and the fans were hungry for revenge after Columbus thumped the Union 4-1 last time out. The passion was turned into a night of celebration as the Philadelphia Union picked up their third win in four by not only beating Columbus Crew, but sending a clear message that they now mean business in a 3-0 win.
The opening moments however told a different story. The Crew were firing on all cylinders as shots from Higuain and Meram sailed wide of the goal,leaving Brian Sylvestre with a lot of work to do.
But it was the Union who struck first just moments before halftime, taking full advantage of a Justin Meram Steven Gerrard esque’ slip right in the middle of the field. Maurice Edu quickly found Maidana and started a rush forward. Christian then played it into Le Toux,whose cutback pass in the box found the returning C.J Sapong for an easy tap-in. The goal marked Sapong’s third of the season and relieved some of the negative light following his three game suspension and DUI arrest.
The Crew SC almost answered instantly, but almost was the word. Finlay’s shot went wide and it was probably one of the more defining moments in the opening 45 minutes..because after that, it would be all about the Union.
The entire story of the game would have been entirely different if not for goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre, whose glorious save cut out an Aaron Schoenfeld shot as the visitors were left scratching their heads on what to do!
Vincent Nogueira was the next man to find the net and he did so with great finesse. A shot from outside the box with just seven minutes gone in the second half added another nail to the coffin as three points seemed more and more likely.
But things only got better..and they did so quickly. Nogueira’s goal proved to be the first of a quickfire double, Sebastian Le Toux, whose pass set up the first goal , got on the scoresheet for a second time in as many games like we predicted after 58 minutes to put that coffin under ground and secure a win. Alongside being the third win out of four games, it was also the third clean sheet. A huge testament to the performances of Brian Sylvestre who continues to impress between the sticks.
The Union won for the first time against the Crew since May 2013..a result which has now ignited a new rivalry. Whenever there are more reasons to win a game, the passion amplifies. When those results are personal or become a team effort to get revenge from a previous fixture..rivalries are born along with heroes. Sebastien Le Toux made a hero of himself in those 90 minutes.
Next up is a showdown with another rival. NYCFC travel to PPL Park for yet another intense fixture as the Union look to take four wins from five, who would have thought we’d be saying that at the start of the year? With this win, the Union now move into 6th place, a spot in the playoffs. The Union are coming. Can David Villa and NYCFC muster up enough defense to stop them?