CHESTER, Pa.—Fabian Herbers hadn't done any flips in a while. Most of his Philadelphia Union teammates didn't even know their rookie teammate was capable of the feat.
“I’ve done it in the past back in Germany but I didn’t do it in college, actually,” said Herbers, the No. 6 overall pick, out of Creighton, in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. “But it was a special goal, so I thought I’d bring it back.”
It was also a special win for the Union, who now charge into the two-week Copa America Centenario break riding a franchise-best eight-game unbeaten streak (3-0-5).
And after coming from behind to earn points in both Orlando and Colorado this past week, Philadelphia once again showcased their resolve, scoring three unanswered goals after Columbus went ahead 1-0 early in the first half on Wednesday.
“It just shows the mentality of our team,” said center back Ken Tribbett. “Whether we’re down 1-nil, 2-nil, 3-nil, we’re resilient and we expect to win.”
Tribbett – back in the starting lineup after Joshua Yaro tore his labrum; the rookie defender is expected to miss 2-3 weeks – made one of the plays of the game, coming up with an acrobatic goal-line block shortly after Chris Pontius tied the game at 1-1 on a deflected shot.
That helped set the stage for the Union to score the next two goals coming out of the break, capped by a rocket into the upper corner by Herbers in the 84th minute. And not even a late stoppage-time Columbus goal could prevent the Union from improving to 5-0-2 at home and stretching their Eastern Conference lead to four points at the top of the table.
“Credit to the guys: They’ve fought hard over these past three games,” said Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “We’ve proven now that we can go Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday without blinking and worrying and acting like that’s the biggest deal in the world – whether it's travel, temperature, referees and all the different things that go into it. I think our guys deserve some time off going into the break.
"I’m proud of the group, proud of the performance, proud of everyone at the club. This is the start of something special, I think.”