Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

March 22, 2014 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #24)
6 p.m. ET (TWCSN-OH; TCN-Phi)

The Columbus Crew return to action for their 2014 MLS home opener when they meet Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. Both teams are coming off wins last time out. The Crew began their season two weeks ago with a 3-0 victory at D.C. United, while Union started the home portion of their campaign with a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution last weekend.


REFEREE: Ted Unkel. SAR (bench): Jeff Hosking; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 0; pens: 0


ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Crew 5 wins, 13 goals … Union 3 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT CREW STADIUM (28 meetings): Crew 3 wins, 9 goals … Union 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 10/11: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m. ET; 10/26: Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. ET

4/6: CLB 1, PHI 1 (Oduro 72 – McInerney 34)
6/5: PHI 3, CLB 0 (Carroll 25; Williams 29; Casey 31)

  • The Crew have never lost at home to Union. They had won the first three meetings between the teams all-time in Columbus, before the clubs played to a 1-1 draw last April 6.
  • Philadelphia won 3-0 at PPL Park a year ago, after losing at home the season before. The Crew have won twice on their five trips to Chester.
  • Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. CLB: P4 W1 L2 T1 … Gregg Berhalter vs. PHI: first game

The Columbus Crew return to action after a week off, having opened their 2014 MLS campaign with a 3-0 win at D.C. United on March 8. The Crew sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference, with 3 points from 1 match.


  • The Crew hit for the opener 18 minutes in. Hector Jimenez found a streaking Josh Williams on the right flank, and he struck a curling, one-touch cross to Jairo Arrieta, whose sliding effort got past outstretched United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
  • In the 27th minute, Columbus doubled its advantage. United midfielder Perry Kitchen and Crew defender Michael Parkhurst grappled while racing for a loose ball in the box, with referee Andres Pfefferokorn ruling that Kitchen committed a foul in the exchange. Higuain converted the ensuing penalty kick.
  • The Crew finished off the match in the 90th minute, as Federico Higuain tapped home the Crew's third goal from close range after Justin Meram found him wide open running into the box.
  • Steve Clark was given the start in goal, behind an all-new central defense pair of Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez. Hector Jimenez came into the team on the right side of midfield, with Waylon Francis filling left back duties.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis (Tyson Wahl 90) - Hector Jimenez, Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 73) - Federico Higuain - Jairo Arrieta (Adam Bedell 87).


  • The Crew opened the season with a 3-0 road win for a second consecutive season, after defeating Chivas USA by the same scoreline to begin 2013.
  • “You want to fully control the game for a full 90 minutes, but I don’t think we did that. When I look at going on the road and controlling the opponent, I think we did well,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We scored two fantastic goals on the road and I’m happy with our overall performance.”
  • Even with three newcomers on the back line and a goalkeeper making his MLS debut, the Crew kept a clean sheet to open the season.
  • “It looks like it was pieced together, but a lot of these guys were carefully considered and they were brought in for a reason,” Berhalter said. “We had a vision of what the team could look like, and we fit players into that vision. I think it's going to take time. We're going to have to keep improving. But it was certainly a good performance by the guys.”
  • Federico Higuaín netted a pair of goals, and now has scored eight goals in his last eight MLS games, dating back to the end of last season. It was his fifth career two-goal game in three MLS seasons.
  • The only returnee to the back four was also in a new role, as Josh Williams played at right back after figuring primarily as a center back. Williams was credited with an assist on the opening goal.
  • “He really wants to get us up high and kind of add another dimension to the attack. Not only that, but he wants us out wide, too. I think it opens up a lot not only for me, but also [midfielders] Wil [Trapp] and Tony [Tchani], they have a lot more room to operate,” said Williams.
  • Said Berhalter: “He was fantastic; he was really good. He's a guy that I was anxious to work with when I came here. I still think we need to keep working with him, but it's great to see where he's at. He's really receptive to the information that's given to him, and I think he's doing well.”
  • Adam Bedell made his first MLS appearance – coming on as a substitute– at forward, becoming the tallest player in MLS history (6 feet, 7 inches) to play in a regular-season match

Philadelphia Union kicked off their 2014 home season with a victory, holding out for a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 4 points from 2 games.


  • The game's lone goal came in the 30th minute. Leo Fernandes made a quick turn to avoid a defender on the left, then ran in alone into the box before playing a ball across the face of goal for Sebastien Le Toux to tap in.
  • Zac MacMath recorded three saves in keeping the clean sheet for Union.
  • Union manager John Hackworth made one change to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Leo Fernandes came into the midfield in place of Brian Carroll.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Austin Berry (Aaron Wheeler 54), Fabinho - Vincent Nogueira, Maurice Edu - Cristian Maidana (Danny Cruz 87), Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux - Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 82).


  • Sebastien Le Toux scored for the first time in MLS play since last July 3, netting the game’s only goal. It was his second consecutive year scoring in Union’s home opener; he even performed the feat in the Whitecaps FC home opener when he spent 2011 in Vancouver, and he recorded a hat trick in Union’s first-ever home game (while also scoring a goal and adding an assist in the first game ever at PPL Park).
  • “It was good. He put the ball in the net and the stadium erupts. it was excellent. Seba did a lot of work today for his teammates. He made some quality passes and a lot of quality touches. He was good and very important for us today,” said Union manager John Hackworth. Said Le Toux: “We wanted start well at home and to get a shutout is really important too. We take the 1-0 lead and it was a great performance by everyone.”
  • Put into the lineup after Brian Carroll came down with an illness, Leo Fernandes played the full 90 minutes and recorded an assist on the Union goal.
  • “I think you saw in the first 10 minutes of the game it was a little shaky. The guys haven’t trained with those players in those positions all week long but Leo has been in some of those preseason activities with those guys. I thought we started to knock it around more. I told Leo that you don’t have to be the best player on the field. All you have to do is your job, play your role, manage your minutes,” Hackworth said. “One of the best days of my life,” Fernandes said.
  • With Carroll out of the team, center back Amobi Okugo was given the captain’s armband, a first in his professional career.
  • “Amobi got the captain’s armband. He was constantly looking over to me. I told him to get our line up and don’t let us drop back and try to defend this one,” said Hackworth. “We do that with our pressure. We think that our pressure initiates our attack.”
  • There was also a change with Aaron Wheeler came into central defense just after the second-half restart – making his professional debut in the position.
  • “It wasn’t too tough, before Austin (Berry) came in I played 2 or 3 games with Aaron (Wheeler) as my partner. Personally, I think we did well when he was in, he won all those air balls and he made an impact when he came in. He helped us achieve this shutout,” said Okugo.
  • There was a shift in midfield tactics with Carroll out of the lineup, with Maurice Edu dropping into a deeper-lying role in the center of the park.
  • “It’s hard to do especially in your mindset. You train all week as a No. 8 going box to box. To come down, the pressure is much different, the options to get the ball is much different. He can do that. Again, that says a lot about him that he can adjust like that,” said Hackworth.

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