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Gone in 262 Seconds: Philadelphia Union 2-3 Columbus Crew


John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union lost. The New York Red Bulls won. Therefore, the Philadelphia Union are mathematically eliminated from MLS Cup contention in 2014.

A simple enough scenario no one would have been surprised with at 7:00 PM, but how it happened was nothing short of galling.

The Red Bulls took care of business simply enough, but the Union had it in the bag, up 2-0 in the second half with 13 minutes plus stoppage time to go. And then poof. Not even five minutes later, it was all gone. In 262 seconds, the Union went from up 2-0 to trailing 3-2.

Embarrassing. Humiliating. Frustrating. Appalling. But not surprising.

All too often the Philadelphia Union have blown late leads, all too often the team has disappointed when hopes were high, and all too often they've wasted the talent on the pitch through poor usages of money and horrifying tactics. No question the team and the tactics have improved from John Hackworth to Jim Curtin, but make no mistake about it, improvement is not synonymous with good.

After benching Amobi Okugo for 120 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup Final, Curtin decided to bench a reportedly healthy Sheanon Williams for Fabinho. And sure enough, an errant Fabinho pass directly led to Ethan Finlay's goal, the Crew's first, in the 78th minute setting off a series of events that sent the Union from miraculously back in the race with something like hope of sneaking into the playoffs to mathematically eliminated.

The second goal came in the 79th minute. A collective defensive meltdown. The third goal came in the 82nd minute. Yet collective another defensive meltdown. Four minutes and 22 seconds from the moment the first goal crossed the line to the moment the last goal crossed the line. Maurice Edu was invisible. Fabinho was harmful. Carlos Valdes was disappointing. Ray Gaddis was helpless. The Crew were surgical.

There will be more on this post in the coming days, but after brooding on this loss for a few hours, I can't come up with any more words right now