David Accam didn’t wait long to show Philadelphia Union fans that 2018 was a blip on the radar. Two first half goals from a player that notched only one all last season helped Philadelphia Union to their first win of the year, 3-0 over Columbus Crew SC.
The Crew had given up a single goal through three matches coming into Saturday’s showdown, but Accam quickly wiped that stout defensive record away. Philly opened the match morphing from the diamond 4-4-2 they have favored all season to the 4-2-3-1 that was a staple of the club the past few seasons. Accam and Ilsinho took the wings while Brenden Aaronson made his second start of the year in the center behind Fafa Picault. Ale Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin took up positions ahead of the back line, with Bedoya pushing forward in attack.
The opening half hour was a demonstration of two clubs finding their footing with key players absent. The Union were without Marco Fabián through suspension and Cory Burke due to international duty, while Columbus was missing Gyasi Zardes, Wil Trapp, and Waylon Francis.
In the fifth minute, Harrison Afful’s marauding run up the right led to a low cross that Auston Trusty slid to clear. Moments later, Kai Wagner flew up the same flank the other way, putting in a similar cross that led to a similar outcome.
The next big chance came from Accam in the 18th when he executed a deft flick off a Haris Medunjanin cross to the back stick. Lifting his boot high into the air, Accam looped the ball over Joe Bendik with the outside of his foot but he couldn’t quite find the frame.
Accam didn’t have to wait much longer to open his 2019 account. Haris Medunjanin and Fafa Picault combined in midfield to send Accam through the left channel. A careful rolled finish to the back post gave the Union the lead and sent Talen Energy Stadium into raptures as Accam celebrated.
Ten minutes later, the attacker doubled his team’s lead and his goals total for the season. After Bedoya played him in at the top of the box, Accam fought through two challenges before tucking the ball into the near post.
Columbus was floored, and after halftime things got no better. Combination play on the left led to a low cross and Accam was involved again as he blocked an attempted clearance. The ball fell to Ilsinho in the box and he roofed it, effectively ending the contest.
Over the final half hour, the Crew occasionally made pushes forward but ended with only five shots on the night.
Following their first win of the season, Philly travels to Cincinnati for their initial showdown with FC Cincinnati on March 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17.