Columbus Crew 4 – 1 Philadelphia Union

COLvsPHLapril27 Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew 4 – 1 Philadelphia Union

Crew Philly

Is Philadelphia on the right, uphill path of building a team? Or has the Union lost its way?

 

Columbus Crew hosted Philadelphia Union last night, and handed it a humiliating 4-1 defeat.

 

April 26, 2015

I was looking forward to the Crew-Union match for quite some time actually.  Having done my university years in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, which sits somewhere between Columbus and Philadelphia; I had the pleasure of getting to know both cities.  Columbus being a town that has many similarities to my beloved Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia that recently caught my interest as becoming a worthy rival to my supported team NYCFC – I had a lot riding on this game, and was pretty excited to watch it.

 

The first ten minutes of the game actually gave me time to curb my enthusiasm.  It was a boring, uneventful start to a game that almost got me reaching for my iPad to perhaps catch more action in the New England – Salt Lake game that was taking place at the same time.  Union’s Coach Jim Curtin sat in the dugout, cuddled in his coat and seemed as if he is struggling to stay awake also.

The commentator had a lot of airtime to fill with chatter, and given there was not a lot to talk about on the pitch, he went through the entire menu of game sponsor Papa Johns.  Somewhere between the “party-of-4 specials, including 2 large pizzas and 4 sides of Parmesan bread sticks, chicken wings and 2 others” I was trying to imagine how this “Amazing offer from Papa” would go down on live television at Real-Madrid vs. Barcelona, or Manchester City vs. Manchester United.

Around the 10th minute of the game, the Crew supporters sang loudly from the stands: “if you happy and you know it clap your hands” seriously?? At the rate the evening was going, I thought that “99 bottles of beer on the wall” would have been a better choice…

So, a pretty slow and uneventful game to start, with Philadelphia possessing the ball for over 40% of the time early in the game.  A pretty impressive start for up and coming Union. But thankfully the first, sleepy ten minutes of the game didn’t indicate on anything that was about to come next.

 

The pace and tempo of the game did increase after the first 10 minutes, and on the 21st minute of the game we got to celebrate with Kei Kamara his 5th goal of the season.

A very efficient assist came from teammate Ethan FinlayKamara somehow bounced the ball against his chest, down to his foot for a good kicking position and scored.  I was pretty impressed by the composed, calculated movement that led to that goal.

This goal puts Kamara as one of the top MLS scorers for this season.  It was also his 200th appearance in the league.  Fair play to the MLS veteran.  n this game, like nearly every other I’ve seen him playing, he seems to have a huge smile on his face, and an overall attitude that shows he feels blessed to play soccer and loves every minute of it.  Again, perhaps more professional soccer players in England, Spain and other top leagues could learn a thing or two from Kei’s attitude.

Following another good attempt by Kamara on the 26th, it was Ethan Finlay that found the net for his first goal of the season at the 31st minute.

Kamara runs into the box in an attempt to position himself, and creates disruption and confusion in Union’s defense, which leaves Finlay open to receive an assist from Waylon Francis and score.

Time to give some credit to the unsung heroes of soccer: Waylon Francis was 1st in defense assists last season.

The evening kept on going from bad-to-worse for Philadelphia, as Justin Meram evaded Union’s captain Maurice Edu, and brilliantly carried the ball for 40 yards before shooting in gently into Union’s keeper John MecCarthy’s net at the 44th minute.

A brief ray of light was provided to the visitors by their midfielder Eric Ayuk, whom on the 64th minute shot a great header past Columbus keeper Steve Clark.  A brilliant effort indeed, and even more so, a multi-backflip celebration of the goal.

Am I the only one to notice lately several Cirque-du-Soleil style goal-celebrations at the MLS games?

The joy did not last for long, as Finlay had to spoil the party 10 minute later, and scored the last goal of the game at minute 64.  Ethan Finlay sure deserved that second goal, as it was not a product of luck, but rather of skill and ability.  As Kamara was leaping up for a header in mid field, Finlay used his speed to run and brilliantly position himself to receive the ball, and then shot it into the net –

Putting the final score at 4 -1 to the Crew.