A late goal from Krisztian Nemeth earned Columbus Crew a 2-1 victory over the Union at MAPFRE Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Ray Gaddis was a late scratch from the starting lineup with back spasms so Olivier Mbaizo stepped into the back line. Sergio Santos and Kacper Przybylko continued up top with Jamiro Monteiro returning to the lineup in place of Anthony Fontana.
Columbus knocked on the door early when Lucas Zelarayan slipped away from Monteiro and curled a sharp ball into Gyasi Zardes that was headed off the bar.
The Union nearly stunned the home side minutes later when Jonathan Mensah’s pass out of the back was blocked by Kacper Przybylko and shot back at Eloy Room and nearly squibbed past the surprised goalie.
Next, Santos sprung free on the left and picked out Aaronson in the center with a seeing eye pass through traffic. The Homegrown scuffled to find space for a strike and couldn’t see a way through.
The Brazilian striker showed off his speed just moments later as he turned on the afterburners and created a transition with Aaronson and Przybylko. The midfielder found his striker wide on the right but the resulting left-footed curler that whipped wide of the far post.
Columbus then went ahead against the run of play when Artur ripped a low drive through traffic that fizzed past Bendik.
The Union didn’t lose momentum, however, and continued as the better side. Early in the second half, Przybylko made an acrobatic move to deflect a loose ball off the back post, but the goal the club needed continued to elude them.
Przybylko had another shot from the top of the box that Room corralled before Santos once again stepped into the spotlight. Using his speed to great effect, Santos blitzed past Mensah and was taken down from behind with a clumsy challenge in the box. Monteiro went down the middle from the spot to even the scoreline.
Philly continued to boss the match and the Crew only had one shot until Krisztian Nemeth latched onto a long cross from Luis Diaz and one-touched it past Bendik.
And still the Union pushed on. Aaronson had a shot from the top of the box and before Wagner zipped in a cross to Przybylko’s head that drew a miraculous save from Room in the 89th minute.
Monteiro fired bullet of a shot at Room in extra time that was turned away with a kick save as the Crew held on for the win.
The Union are back home November 8 for a Decision Day matchup with New England Revolution and a chance to wrap up the 2020 Supporters’ Shield trophy.