On Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium, in the penultimate week of the 2019 regular season, Youness Mokhtar opened his MLS account and Pedro Santos scored a goal of his own to lead the Crew to a 2-0 win over the visiting Union in a game that featured a 41-minute halftime weather delay.
Mokhtar’s first MLS goal in seven games with Columbus came in the 69th minute as the team’s summer signing finished off a high-paced counterattack and slotted one past Andre Blake. Santos scored just four minutes later, sneaking a long shot through traffic on a follow-up to a corner kick.
There were few scoring chances for either team in a rainy first half. The biggest development in the opening 45 came when Union captain Alejandro Bedoya exited, for Warren Creavalle, shortly before halftime with a strained quad.
After the Crew’s Eloy Room and Blake both made big saves early in the second half to keep the game scoreless, Jamiro Monteiro had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 64th minute but hit a point-blank shot over the crossbar.
The Union not only missed a chance to earn the top seed (which New York City FC clinched after this result) but dropped from second to third place in the Eastern Conference — although they're level with second-place Atlanta FC on points heading into Decision Day presented by AT&T.
- THE BIG PICTURE: With New York City FC losing their matchup (which, because of the weather delay, happened early in the second half of this contest), the Union had a terrific opportunity in front of them: Beat the Crew and then take on NYCFC, at home, on Decision Day, with a playoff bye on the line. Instead, the best Philly can do now is the No. 2 seed — and can only achieve that if Atlanta don’t beat New England at home.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Before Mokhtar’s goal, the Union looked on the verge of a breakthrough. After it, they didn’t look to have a comeback in them, finishing a tough, eight-day road trip with a 1-2 mark.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Despite missing out on the postseason, the Crew have only lost once in their last 12 games — and Santos is a big reason why with six goals in that stretch, including a beauty in this one to go along with a solid overall performance.