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Match #29: Philadelphia Union At Columbus Crew

After breaking an eight-match winless streak against Houston, the Union dropped a 3-2 game to the Crew.

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Columbus Crew 3-2 Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union needed a win in order to ensure their mathematical chance of making the playoffs remained slightly higher than 0%. But thanks to a poor first half and a missed offside call following a 2-goal Union comeback, the Union dropped all three points at Columbus and have been officially eliminated from the playoffs.

The first half saw the Union dominate possession, but little else. Under Hackworth, the Union have become a real possession side, but possession means nothing if the team cannot create anything with it, and that is exactly the position the Union found themselves in during the first half. The Union were only able to create two attempts at goal in the first half, and none of them on target. Columbus Crew would take a 1-0 lead in stoppage time.

The Union thought they may have had an equalizer at the very end of the half, but it was rightfully called back as Okugo, who shared some of the blame on the first goal, obviously put it in with his hands. Jairo Arrieta would then split the Union defense and slot home his second goal of the night to give the Crew a deserved 2-0. Okugo, once again, found himself sharing blame. It was not a pretty half for Amobi Okugo.

The second half would not start much better for the Union, although Zac MacMath did make an awesome save in the 63rd minute. A couple minutes later, Antoine Hoppenot got taken down in the box and was awarded a penalty kick. The penalty taken by Danny Cruz would be converted and the Union found themselves trailing only by one.

Late in the game, the Union would miraculously tie it on a goal from Jack McInerney, however, just a minute later, Columbus Crew would equalize on a dubious goal from Milovan Mirosevic on a goal that should have never counted due to Mirosevic being in an offside position.

That would be it for the Union, as they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs a whole month before the playoffs begin. The Union went through an unnecessary re-build last off-season, and it backfired in every possible way. While the Union can rightfully claim the linesman gave them a raw deal tonight, there can be little doubt this season was a step back in every way imaginable. There will be more time to digest this in the coming months, but for now, it's a nauseating way for the Union to be mathematically eliminated in what has been a nauseating season.

The Union will seek to salvage some pride Wednesday night when they travel to Chicago to take on the Fire.

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Arrieta Brace Has Union Down Two To Crew

Two goals late in the first half left one team smiling as it entered its locker room in Columbus, but the Philadelphia Union weren't that club.

Jairo Arrieta, formerly of Deportivo Saprissa, put the Columbus Crew ahead 1-0 in the 45th minute, after Sheanon Williams, once again starting at his unnatural left back position, and Amobi Okugo both had major gaffes defensively. Williams failed to pressure , who crossed the ball to Arrieta in the box.

The Costa Rican striker, whose form since joining the Crew may well earn him a national team call up, beat Okugo and found the right side of the Union net, past Zac MacMath.

Only minutes later it appeared that Okugo and the Union responded with a goal of their own. However, Okugo, upon replay, clearly used his hand to score off of a free kick and the referee cautioned him for his Diego Maradona like attempt.

The fourth official held up his board signifying five minutes of stoppage time, which did not bode well for the Union. The Crew had found momentum after the Arrieta goal and made Philadelphia pay for their inability to control possession or create their own attack.

Milovan Mirosevic set up Arrieta for another opportunity on net in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Arrieta was able to control Mirosevic's pass with great precision and turned Gaddis, while also moving past two other defenders.

A shot to the lower right corner of the Union net once again beat MacMath, who was not helped by his back four.

The Union have struggled to make use of anything that Michael Farfan has produced out of the center of the midfield, leaving the 24-year-old with only frustration in spite of him providing great service to his teammates.

A loss or tie by the Union, or a Houston Dynamo win over the New England Revolution tonight, will officially eliminate the Union from playoff contention.

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Union at Crew tBG Game Thread

Philadelphia Union starting XI: MacMath, Gaddis, S.Williams, Okugo, Valdes (c), Carroll, Lahoud, Cruz, G.Farfan, M.Farfan, Martinez

Philadelphia Union bench: Konopka, Albright, Torres, Gomez, McInerney, Hoppenot, Hoffman.

Columbus Crew starting XI: Gruenebaum; Miranda, Marshall, James, Williams; Birchall, O'Rourke, Mirosevic, Gaven; Higuaín, Arrieta

Columbus Crew bench: Lampson, Gehrig, Vukovic, Tchani, Meram, Vargas, Rentería

It is almost a joke at this point. The Philadelphia Union will not qualify for the playoffs. With a month left in the season, there is just no rational way a team on the brink of elimination now will ultimately end up qualifying for the playoffs. But, the Union need to promote the game somehow, so here goes nothing.

Union's playoff non-aspirations aside, this game does actually playoff implications. For the Columbus Crew, they are currently in sixth place, carrying 45 points with 30 games played. The team they are currently chasing for fifth place? The Houson Dynamo, who have 46 points with 30 games played. For the Union, this does provide a motivation to want to win because any opportunity to dampen the hopes of a sports team that plays in Columbus, Ohio is an opportunity worth taking.

Prediction: The Philadelphia Union go out with a whimper much like the Phillies did last night; co-eds party. Crew win 1-0.

Game can be seen at 7:30 PM on The Comcast Network. DOOP!

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