Columbus Crew SC 1, Philadelphia Union 0 | 2020 MLS Match Recap

An impressive second-half Lucas Zelarayan goal was the difference Wednesday night as Columbus Crew SC beat the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in a crucial Eastern Conference showdown at MAPFRE Stadium.

Though it was a fairly even first half, the Union had the better of the chances — particularly in a burst of action a little more than midway through the period. First, in the 26th minute, Brenden Aaronson made a spirited run through the Crew defense, but a timely Artur block prevented a goal. Then, a minute later, Crew SC's Darlington Nagbe stood sturdy on the goal line and kicked away a strong Mark McKenzie attempt to keep the score 0-0.

Zelarayan's goal opened the scoring in the 55th minute; it was the Crew's first goal in 244 minutes of action. His shot from beyond the 18 caromed off an unlucky McKenzie, giving Union 'keeper Andre Blake no chance. Though the Union had some chances to equalize, most notably a 68th-minute Sergio Santos close-range shot that skimmed over the bar, the Crew were able to gather all three points at home.

Goals

  • 55' – CLB – Lucas Zelarayan | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The win puts the Crew atop the East as well as in the Supporters' Shield standings. It's particularly impressive against the Union, who scored four goals and might have scored even more against D.C. United just four days prior. Both teams look like they'll be contending for the top spots in the East based on what they showed in this one.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though the goal seems the obvious choice, there's an argument to be made for Nagbe's goal-saving clearance. While the stop didn't fully stave off the Union attack, as they had one more first-half flurry in front of goal, the Crew got out of the first half without letting in a goal. Twenty minutes before the halftime whistle blew, that didn't at all seem a certainty. 
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Zelarayan is a delight to watch. He can score from distance, but he can also set up teammates, and some 1-on-1 battles with Union players in the open field shows he's not afraid to mix it up. So far, early into his time in MLS, the Crew are lucky to have him. 

Next Up

  • CLB: Sunday, September 6 vs. FC Cincinnati (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, DAZN in Canada)
  • PHI: Sunday, September 6 at New York Red Bulls (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, DAZN in Canada)

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