Saturday night in Columbus, we saw a matchup between the second and third-place teams in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, who is holding second place, has finished each of their last four matches on level ground, totaling 4 points. Columbus, the third-place team, has won two of their last four matches. The Union would once again be without Jake Glesnes and Jose Martinez, which led to a strange look for the starting 11. With a win, the Crew would leapfrog Philadelphia and take over second place in the conference.
Philadelphia opened the match with a 3-5-2 formation, shifting Wagner and Mbaizo into the midfield while the Harriel, Lowe, and Elliot trio manned the back line. Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre were all on the bench to open the match. In their place were Chris Donovan, Quinn Sullivan, and Alejandro Bedoya. The defensive prowess of the Union was put to the test early and often in the first half, taking over 12 shots with 7 on goal before a scoreless first half would come to an end.
Philadelphia would make some substitutions to start the second half. Uhre, Carranza, and Gazdag would come on for Sullivan, Donovan, and Bedoya as the Union looked to counter the pressure from Columbus. It would pay off in the 50th minute as a corner kick would find Nathan Harriel in the air for a header to give Philadelphia the lead. A handball in the penalty area by Jack Elliot would give the Crew a chance to even the score, and Cucho Hernandez would slide the penalty kick past Andre Blake to make it a 1-1 match. After some spirited attempts by both teams, the final whistle would blow with a final of 1-1.
Down to the Last Three
With three matches left to play in the regular season, the Philadelphia Union needs to start picking up some wins to climb back up and attempt to claim the number two spot in the conference. With FC Cincinnati securing the Supporter’s Shield tonight, Philadelphia still has a chance at finishing in a strong position. There have been a few matches in this final stretch where the Union seem to take their foot off the gas and let their opponents back into the match. With the MLS Cup Playoffs right around the corner, Philadelphia needs to start gaining momentum. The Philadelphia Union with yet another draw.