The Columbus Crew defeated the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, 2-1, in front of a loud crowd of 13,869 in Crew Stadium. With the win, Columbus moves to 11-7-7 (40 points), and Philadelphia drops to 8-6-10 (34 points). The Crew remain in first place in the East, now by five points after the Houston Dynamo defeated Real Salt Lake 3-2, moving to 8-7-11 (35 points).
Emilio Renteria opened the scoring for Columbus in the 37th minute. Fellow forward Andres Mendoza received the ball with his back to the goal. He turned one way, then the other, and found Robbie Rogers running down the left side of the field. Rogers chipped in a floating cross that found Renteria’s left foot. His soft shot rolled past Union goalie Faryd Mondragon and into the right corner of the net. The goal was Renteria’s sixth of the season in only his eleventh game.
However, Philadelphia equalized before the break. In the 41st minute, off a Keon Daniel corner kick right in front of the Nordecke, William Hesmer miss-timed his jump, and the ball went straight over his hands and onto the head of Veljko Paunovic, who headed the ball into the empty net.
Crew fans didn’t have to wait long after the break for their team to take the lead once again. In the 50th minute, Renteria looped a pass to Rogers on the left side of the box. Rogers tried to cut the ball back across the goal, but Union defender Sheanon Williams knocked it down with his hand and Columbus was awarded a penalty. Rogers and Mendoza both seemed to want to take the spot kick, but Mendoza obviously won the argument as he stepped up. His shot wasn’t the best, but Mondragon was unable to stop it, and it deflected off him and into the back of the net.
The last couple of minutes were nervy for everyone, and Crew goalie William Hesmer was forced to make a save in stoppage time to keep the three points for Columbus.
In the second half, Columbus defender Julius James was given a yellow card, meaning he will now miss the next game due to yellow card accumulation. Forwards Emilio Renteria and Andres Mendoza, the Crew’s two leading scorers, started together for the first time this MLS season.
The game began 30 minutes later than originally scheduled, due to Philadelphia’s flight being canceled the day before. The Union arrived during Saturday afternoon.
The Crew travel to Seattle to play the Sounders next Saturday. The Union play at home against the New England Revolution next Sunday.
Columbus Crew – William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner, Justin Meram (Dilly Duka 60), Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers, Andres Mendoza (Bernardo Anor 76), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 70).
Philadelphia Union – Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Michael Farfan 60), Stefani Miglioranzi, Veljko Paunovic, Keon Daniel (Jack McInerney 73), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Freddy Adu 60).
Before the game, a moment of silence was held for Joel Reynaga, La Turbina Amarilla member and Nordecke regular. Yellow flowers were placed on his drum as the whole stadium mourned a terrible loss. RIP Joel.