The Philadelphia Union defeated Columbus Crew SC 2-1 with both goals coming from offseason signing Chris Pontius. The victory marks the Union’s first ever win at Columbus and the first win of the season.
The game saw action on both ends of the pitch. Andre Blake made some stunning saves to keep the Union in the lead after Pontius scored the first goal in the 46th minute. Keegan Rosenberry gave a long throw into the Columbus box and unmarked Pontius sent the ball into the back of the net.
“The last five minutes before half are always critical,” said head coach Jim Curtin. “I thought our guys pushed hard in the first half, Columbus had a couple of chances on goal as well, but I do not think it was unfair that we got the goal. I thought we deserved it and we earned it.”
In the second half, Pontius extended the Union’s lead to two in the 71st minute. C.J. Sapong dribbled the ball down the right hand side of the field and laid it off Carroll. The captain found llsinho at the top of the 18. While the Columbus defense was able to win the ball from the Brazilian, it fell to the feet of Pontius who fired it into the back of the net with his left foot.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Pontius. “We put a lot of work into the preseason and it is not easy to start away against Dallas and Columbus. I am proud of the way we hung in there and were more aggressive this game than the Dallas game.”
Blake made six saves throughout the game and now has made a total of 14 in the first two matches of the season.
“It is part of my job to do whatever I can to keep my team in the game so confidence wise every time you get a win and make a save it is great,” said Blake. “I know what I am capable of doing. It is just about believing in yourself, working hard everyday and knowing that the sky is the limit.”
“He has been huge in both matches,” said Pontius. “We have asked a lot of him in these first two games. He kept us in the game against Dallas and he did the same tonight.”
Kei Kamara gave the home team a goal in the 87th minute sending a header into the top corner of the net, but it was too little too late. Before tonight’s match, Columbus had not lost a home opener since 2004.
The Union return to action next Sunday for the home opener at Talen Energy Stadium against New England Revolution at 2:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew SC 1, Philadelphia Union 2
PHI – Chris Pontius 45+1’
PHI— Chris Pontius 71’
CLB— Kei Kamara (Mohammed Saeid) 87’
PHI— Fabinho 56' (Yellow)
PHI — Brian Carroll 65’ (Yellow)
PHILADELPHIA UNION STARTING XI
Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Fabinho, Brian Carroll (Sebastien Le Toux 60’), Leo Fernandes,Warren Creavalle, Ilsinho (Roland Alberg 75'), Chris Pontius (Fabian Herbers 86’), C.J. Sapong
Unused subs: John McCarthy, Anderson, Raymon Gaddis
COLUMBUS CREW SC STARTING XI
Steve Clark, Gastón Sauro, Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis (Justin Meram,74’), Will Trapp, Federico Higuaín, Ethan Finlay (Mohammed Saeid 74’), Héctor Jiménez (Cedrick 59’), Tony Tchani, Kei Kamara
Unused subs: Emil Larson, Brad Stuver, Amor Tarek, Corey Ashe