The Philadelphia Union got goals from Jack Elliott and Alejandro Bedoya, plus a late insurance tally from Leon Flach, overcoming a second-half red card to Kai Wagner to take a 3-0 victory over the visiting Columbus Crew at Subaru Park on Sunday, dealing a crucial blow to the defending MLS Cup champion's postseason hopes.

The Crew couldn't carry momentum forward from their Campeones Cup title midweek over Liga MX's Cruz Azul, while the Union continued their chase for a home game in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, moving into sole possession of the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference standings with the victory.

The Union opened the scoring on 25 minutes through a free-kick finish from Elliott. The center back lined it up 30 yards from goal and rolled a low, driven ball past Columbus' wall and into the bottom left corner, eluding diving goalkeeper Evan Bush.

That lead was doubled nearly immediately after the second-half kickoff courtesy of Bedoya. Philadelphia's captain capped a counterattack following a giveaway from Columbus, slotting home a first-time finish off Kacper Przybyłko's cross.

Things got interesting in the 64th minute when Wagner got his second yellow card for a foul on Luis Diaz, putting the Union down a man for the rest of the match and setting up a nervy finish.

The Crew had a golden opportunity to cut the lead in half from the penalty spot after Alvas Powell was called for a foul in his own box upon colliding with Gyasi Zardes. But Andre Blake made a huge save to deny Pedro Santos' shot from 12 yards out, preserving the two-goal lead.

Blake was called into action again in the 80th minute when Darlington Nagbe sent a curling shot that looked destined for the top corner, but the Union backstop went full extension for another huge save.

Flach then put the match to bed just before second-half stoppage time, firing a shot that Bush couldn't collect – ending any and all comeback hopes.

Goals

  • 25' - PHI - Jack Elliott | WATCH
  • 46' - PHI - Alejandro Bedoya | WATCH
  • 89' - PHI - Leon Flach | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The Union made it harder on themselves than they needed to after Wagner was sent off with the 2-0 lead, but it's a big three points that vault Jim Curtin's group from seventh to third in the East. It might be a death blow for the Crew's hopes of salvaging a postseason spot, as Columbus haven't really found the gear they had during last season's MLS Cup run, creating a big hill to climb over their final six matches.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If Santos slotted home this PK, it would have created a fast-and-furious ending. Instead, Blake came through with a massive stop.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Blake has been huge for Philadelphia all season, and he reinforced why he's among the league's best between the posts with the aforementioned penalty save, plus the highlight-reel denial of Nagbe that preserved a clean sheet.

Next Up

  • PHI: Saturday, October 9 at FC Cincinnati | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • CLB: Saturday, October 16 at CF Montréal | 1 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)