The Philadelphia Union suffered their first loss of the 2014 season to the Columbus Crew. The team succeeded in creating chances but were unable to finish many of them. Early on they let the Crew go up 2-0. Then, in the second half Leo Fernandes was able to score in the 62nd minute but it wasn’t enough to give the squad the three points they had hoped to leave with.
Again, there weren’t many changes seen in the starting lineup for the Union compared to what we’ve seen so far. Brian Carroll returned to the lineup after being sick with the flu last week during the home opener. Next to Carroll was Maurice Edu who played more of a holding midfield position for this game, rather than attacking. Also, Aaron Wheeler was added to the starting eleven at center back in replacement for Austin Berry who was injured in the last game. He came on for Berry in the 54th minute in the game against New England as well. Wheeler, who is traditionally a forward proved his diversity as a player with his impressive performance in the center back role.
Midfielder, Benardo Anor scored for the Crew in the 24th minute off a corner kick taken by Federico Higuain. Sebastien Le Toux and Cristian Maidana were mainly at fault for the goal. Before the kick was taken Le Toux was marking no one in the box which left Anor wide open. Le Toux was unable to disrupt Anor’s run in towards goal so he was able to direct his header right on target. There were players marking both posts of the goal. The shot seemed to have caught Maidana, who was marking one of the posts, off-guard because the ball slipped right past him and he made minimal effort to stop it. The goal was a poor display of defense for the Union, which typically is rare.
Anor scored his second goal in added time for the first half. The Union had just gained possession and Le Toux made a pass up to Maidana who failed to control the ball and off the deflection of his feet gave it to Anor who carried it upfield and took a shot from distance.
Leo Fernandes came in as a substitute in the 55th minute for Maidana, who surprisingly had a relatively poor performance. Just seven minutes later he was able to bring the Union back into the game with his first career goal. The assist came from Le Toux and Fernandes was positioned in the perfect position to score. Fernandes has shown immense improvement from last season, where he only played only 281 minutes in 7 games. For the rest of the game, he set up multiple opportunities and even had some more shots on goal himself. He already has an assist and a goal this season, and appears to continue his efforts going forward.
The Union showed progress in the second half with more shots than the Crew. Other than the defensive errors, the team collectively played a satisfactory game. There was still creativity in the midfield, and shots taken on goal. Going onward, their attention needs to be focused on finishing the ball on target. Next up the Union take on Montreal Impact at home who are 0-3 in their 2014 campaign.
(image courtesy of philadelphiaunion.com)