Columbus, OH - The Columbus Crew reserves (4-1-0) edged the Philadelphia Union reserves (1-5-1) 1-0 on Sunday morning in an MLS Reserve League match. Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor scored the lone goal for the Crew assisted by Crew Soccer Academy player Khai Celestin. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum earned the shutout.
Columbus almost drew first blood when midfielder Santiago Prim took a shot in front of Philadelphia’s goal that was deflected into the corner by Union 'keeper Zac MacMath in the fourth minute. Philadelphia responded a minute later with a shot by Zach Pfeffer, who was very active all match for the visiting side, only to see it saved by Gruenebaum.
Both teams continued to go back and forth throughout the half but could not find the elusive tally thanks, in part, to good defending and goalkeeping. In the 13th minute the Crew’s Prim saw his volley saved by MacMath after a great build up from a cross by Tommy Heinemann deflected to Prim by Philadelphia trialist Joe Tait.
The half ended scoreless but not before Gruenebaum was called into action to deflect a Pfeffer shot in the 36th and to save a point blank shot by Michael Farfan in the 45th.
In the second half both teams came out swinging looking for a goal. Heinemann saw his 48th minute shot saved by MacMath and Pfeffer responded a minute later finding himself alone in the box in front of Gruenebaum, only to see his shot get deflected into corner. As the second half wore on, the Crew’s Anor started to pick up the pace and saw back-to-back shots in the 51st and 52nd minutes get saved again by MacMath.
The Crew broke the tie in the 70th minute after midfielder Cole Grossman slotted a ball to an open Celestin, who crossed it to Anor in the box. Anor saw an open spot and placed the ball far post into the bottom right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Crew’s defense was able to preserve the lead but not before a last minute effort by Philadelphia’s Amobi Okugo, who had his shot deflected in second half stoppage time.
CLB -- Bernardo Anor (Khai Celestin) 70
Philadelphia Union – Zac MacMath, Ryan Richter, Joe Tait*, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Michael Farfan (Billy McConnell*), Amobi Okugo, Zach Pfeffer, Roger Torres, Kyle Nakazawa, Levi Houapeu (Darius Madison* 46), Jack McInerney (Melvin Snoh* 66)
Substitutes Not Used: Thorne Holder*
Columbus Crew – Andy, Gruenebaum, Korey Veeder (Dominic Aracri* 68), Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Ben Sippola, Tom Catalano* (Aaron Horton 34), Danny O’Rourke (Khai Celestin* 46), Cole Grossman, Bernardo Anor, Santiago Prim, Tommy Heinemann (JJ Bain* 60)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Riggs, Alex Stout*,
*Denotes non-roster players
CLB – Tom Catalano (Caution: reckless foul) 31
PHI – Ryan Richter (Caution: hard tackle) 34
CLB – Aaron Horton (Caution: dissent) 81