Columbus Crew SC got a much-needed home win over the Philadelphia Union to move back ahead of Orlando City in the Eastern Conference and back into the final playoff place. They also recorded consecutive wins for the first time since the beginning of April, and will be looking to make it three in a row when they play the return leg of this doubleheader against Union on Wednesday.
The winner came midway through the second half and was a credit to Man of the Match Justin Meram with some assistance from a heavy deflection. Meram had received the ball on the right wing and made a direct run into the area and attempted a curling effort with his left foot. The ball was heading wide until it deflected off the foot of Joshua Yaro to wrong foot John McCarthy and find the back of the net.
Columbus had started the game brightly and nearly got on the score sheet early on thanks to a lovely floated through ball from Wil Trapp which Ola Kamara met to volley straight at McCarthy, who reacted to push the ball away.
The game then settled down to a midfield battle until the end of the half with Crew SC having two quick chances. The first fell to Meram, who received the ball 25 yards from goal and curled an effort just wide of the top right corner. Minutes later Meram was the architect with a chipped cross that was not dealt with and Kamara pouncing on the loose ball to fire just wide.
Early in the second half Lalas Abubakar nearly marked his home debut with a goal, but he could only head wide from a right-side corner. Kekuta Manneh then had a chance after receiving the ball from the flick of Kamara. He controlled the ball and let a shot rip from the edge of the area, but it was straight at McCarthy.
Meram came close to his second of the night on 68 minutes and again it had help from a deflection. Artur was brought down on the edge of the area and Meram took the resulting free kick, which deflected off the wall. But this time McCarthy was able to change direction and save down to his right.
In the end, it was a comfortable home win for Columbus with Zack Steffen not having to make a save all game. Tonight’s game was also the third on the trot without Federico Higuain.