Well then. That was something fun and different. The Philadelphia Union had a string of three goals in six minutes in the first half as they routed the Columbus Crew by a final score of 3-0 on Wednesday night at PPL Park.
Right out of the gate, the Union played an aggressive counterattacking game that while sloppy at times, made them appear much more threatening right out of the gate than they ever looked over the weekend against Toronto FC. Even when Danny Cruz was making bad touches and passes to nullify the scoring opportunities, Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo established a dominant central defensive game that would not relent for 90 minutes.
On a night when Jack McInerney's finishing was off, the rest of the Union were there to pick him up. The Union's first goal occurred in the 25th minute when Brian Carroll rocketed a shot that deflected off Eric Gehrig and past a helpless Andy Gruenebaum. Despite the hard deflection it took off Gehrig, Carroll's shot was on line and was likely going in anyway, and Carroll was rightly credited for the goal as opposed to assessing Gehrig an own goal on what was for him a truly unfortunate bounce.
The second goal came just four minutes later when a corner kick taken by Sebastien Le Toux went to Brian Carroll who flicked the ball to Sheanon Williams who awkwardly kicked the ball into the net while falling on the ground. The Union were firmly in control at this point, and one minute later, the Union would add a third. Sebastien Le Toux with the ball on the right side of the pitch crossed it to Conor Casey in the box who sent a diving header past Gruenebaum for the Union's 3rd and final goal of the evening.
The Union would spend the rest of the match in cruise control and on the rare occasion the Crew managed to create a goal scoring opportunity, their finishing was hilarious poor. For their part, the Union threatened to add a 4th, and almost did several times, but McInerney had an off day and nothing else would find its way into the back of the net.
It was an emphatic win for the Union and a sterling defensive performance that will likely get lost in the offensive fireworks of the first half. Such a win was greatly needed for the disappointing near loss to Ocean City Nor'Easters and then the near loss over the weekend against Toronto.
Up next for the Union is a friendly on Friday against Reading United followed by a U.S. Open Cup 4th round match next Wednesday against D.C. United. The Union's next MLS match will not occur until June 23 when the Union host New York Red Bulls.