The Columbus Crew got the best of the Philadelphia Union on Sunday at Crew Stadium.
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Crew Down Union in Season Finale

COLUMBUS – First-half goals by Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Emilio Renteria helped the Crew enter the playoffs on a positive note with a 3-1 defeat of the Philadelphia Union, despite a bizarre finish Sunday before a season-high crowd of 19,006 in Crew Stadium.

Schelotto also assisted on Andres Mendoza’s second goal of the season in the 79th minute to make it 3-1 before Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer had to leave the game after a collision with Philadelphia defender Danny Califf in the 85th minute.

Because the Crew had used all of their substitutes, midfielder Eddie Gaven went into goal for the second time in his career.

In the 87th minute, the Union's Sebastien Le Toux ripped a shot through Gaven's hands from the top of the box for the Frenchman's 14th goal of the season. However, Gaven also made two saves to help earn the Crew the win.

The Crew (14-8-8) finish the regular season with 50 points — one more than last season when they won a second straight Supporters’ Shield — despite carrying a 0-3-3 streak in MLS play entering the match.

Coming off a victory over East champions New York, Philadelphia (8-15-7) were looking for their first two-game win-streak ever.

Philadelphia had several chances in the second half to cut into the deficit, but Hesmer made a brilliant stop while leaning the other way on Justin Mapp in the 59th, and he parried Roger Torres' free kick over the crossbar in the 72nd.

Columbus dialed up a 2-0 lead on a penalty kick by Schelotto in the 15th minute, and Renteria’s goal in the 42nd was not nearly as entertaining as his celebration afterward.

Renteria took a pass from Gaven and beat the offside trap for a breakaway. As goalkeeper Chris Seitz challenged, Renteria beat him with a strike from 20 yards for his fifth goal of 2010.

He then raced to the northeast corner in front of the Nordecke supporters’ section, where he took off his right shoe. Renteria then pretended to make a call and hold a conversation with it a la Get Smart’s Maxwell Smart.

After he was done, Renteria hung his shoe phone on the corner flag.

Columbus deserved a goal for their dominating play early, but the manner in which a penalty kick was awarded could be questioned.

Schelotto put Gaven through on the right side, and the midfielder cut toward the goal. As he reached the penalty area he was fouled by Eduardo Coudet. The Union vigorously — but unsuccessfully — claimed Gaven was a step outside the box.

Schelotto calmly beat Seitz with a shot down the middle.

Renteria added the insurance goal going into the break.

Columbus prepped for the playoffs with a starting XI that will be close to the one for the series against Colorado.

The notable exception was forward Steven Lenhart, who was ejected from the Toronto FC match on Oct. 16 but will be eligible for the next game. He scored twice in the 2-1 victory in the first meeting Aug. 5.

Renteria, coming off a two-goal game at Joe Public on Thursday in the Champions League, took Lenhart’s spot and had five of the Crew’s six shots on goal before exiting in the 70th minute.

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