Deflected effort helps Crew overcome Union 1-0 in clash of top teams

Philadelphia Union outplayed Columbus Crew but fell 1-0 to a deflected goal from Lucas Zelarayan Wednesday evening. 

The Argentinian’s goal spun off Mark McKenzie and around Andre Blake 10 minutes into the second half. McKenzie came close to scoring in the first half when he lined the ball toward goalline and saw Darlington Nagbe clear it off the line..  

Jim Curtin restored McKenzie and Ray Gaddis to the lineup, moving Olivier Mbaizo across the formation to left back in place of the injured Kai Wagner. The rest of the team remained the same as the group that knocked off DC United. 

The visitors were ascendant early and Bedoya tested Eloy Room from distance, forcing the Curacao goalkeeper to dive to his left. 

Minutes before Zelarayan’s goal, McKenzie made a stunning diving deflection to prevent Pedro Santos from getting a look on goal from the top of the box. Harrison Afful dropped the ball to Santos and he whipped in a hard shot that McKenzie flew in front of to stop. 

Kacper Przybylko nearly slipped behind the defense but Jonathan Mensah fell, reached out, and palmed the ball away from the striker. Robert Sibiga gave a yellow card to the defender for a handball. 

Ilsinho, Andrew Wooten, and Anthony Fontana entered as the Union built pressure in search of an equalizer. Matt Real came on to stretch Columbus’ defense as well, but in this battle between two of the best in the Eastern Conference, a deflected effort proved to be the only thing that could separate them. 

The Union return to action this Sunday when they face off with the rival New York Red Bulls at 7:00 p.m. ET on PHL17.

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