Neither side managed to get much traction in the attack throughout the match, although both teams saw shots go off the post and Columbus had a first-half penalty kick wiped away on Video Review.
The Crew nearly opened the scoring in the 34th minute through Lucas Zelarayan, who teed up a rocket shot from distance that made it over Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake, but wound up glancing off the crossbar.
Columbus then thought they had a look at the opener just three minutes later, as Philadelphia defender Jakob Glesnes was whistled for a foul in his own box after colliding with Pedro Santos, drawing a penalty kick call from referee Ramy Touchan. But the penalty was waved off after Touchan went to VAR and determined the foul took place outside the box, keeping the contest scoreless through halftime.
The Crew again nearly went ahead just shy of the hour mark, when Santos sent in a cross that Luis Diaz put on target with a first-time shot on goal, but Blake sprawled out to make the save.
The Union had perhaps their best look of the match in the 64th minute off a set piece that saw Alejandro Bedoya squeeze off a shot set up by a header back across the box from Glesnes. The Philadelphia captain beat diving Columbus goalkeeper Eloy Room with the shot, only to see it go off the crossbar.
Columbus had one last chance in the 83rd minute, when Zelarayan sent in a free kick that wasn't cleared, allowing Artur a free look on goal, but Blake came through again with a reaction save.
Bedoya then had another go from distance just before full time, and nearly stole all three points for the Union in dramatic fashion, but Room made a diving save of his own to ensure the contest would end in a scoreless deadlock.
- THE BIG PICTURE: In a matchup between the reigning MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield champions, neither team looked quite like their usual selves as they kicked off their 2021 league campaigns. That can probably be attributed to some early-season rust, as well as the fact that both these teams are juggling Concacaf Champions League obligations at the moment. Don't expect either of these attacks to stay dormant for long.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Columbus' last look off the boot of Artur was arguably the best chance the Crew had at a game-winner, and it was a class save from Blake to help Philadelphia snatch a good road point.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Both goalkeepers have a good shout, but Blake gave a good early-season reminder why he's a two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year with a solid all-around effort that he capped off with the crucial late save.
- CLB: Wednesday, April 28 vs. Monterrey | 8:30 pm ET (Broadcast info TBD) | Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals Leg 1
- PHI: Saturday, April 24 at Inter Miami CF | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)