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Union fail again on the road in 1-0 defeat at Columbus

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Gyasi Zardes’ goal in the 53rd minute was enough for the hosts to collect all three points

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew SC hosted the Philadelphia Union tonight and were rewarded with a 1-0 victory over the Union.

Philadelphia once again took to the road in search of a rare win, but were again unable to even earn a point away from home. Gyasi Zardes poached a goal from one of the few defensive mistakes by the Union, and the boy in blue were completely unable to exploit any mistakes by the Crew and were held scoreless.

The Union started out well in the first 10 or so minutes, putting some pressure on the Crew, but after a brief flurry in the first part of the match, the Union seemed content to just stay compact and soak up pressure from the Crew.

That would have been a good strategy to stay in the match if the team was down a man, however the Union were playing with 11 men. The Crew’s best player, Frederico Higuain, started the match on the bench, but even with him missing, the Crew put their stamp on the match while the Union were unable to get anything going at all during the first half.

The Crew’s best chance in the first half came from one of their fullbacks, Harrison Afful, as his shot hit the post after he was allowed to get a long shot on goal. The Union were lucky to not concede from the attempt.

Meanwhile, the Union’s early attacking efforts evaporated and the team simply had nothing going on. CJ Sapong was isolated while Borek Dockal, Ilsinho, and David Accam did absolutely nothing to put any impact on the match. While the defense played pretty well to keep the Crew from getting any good shots off and did well to take away any danger from the corner kicks, the attack was largely absent.

The match was scoreless at half-time, with the Union looking the less likely of the two teams to score.

The Crew finally broke through in the 53rd minute after Zardes was able to capitalize on the Union finally making a few mistakes on the defensive end. A cross wasn’t dealt with properly by Andre Blake, and Keegan Rosenberry wasn’t able to get back in time to deal with the ball that was put into space. The Crew player was able to get a shot on net and Zardes got a tap in after taking up a position in the six yard box, completely and totally unmarked by any Union player.

The goal by the Crew didn’t seem to get anything going for the Union, as the first real shot on net in the second half came at about the 80th minute. Dockal’s shot was well struck, but it failed to really test the keeper at all.

By far the best chance for the Union came right in the 90th minute, as Haris Medunjanin chose to shoot rather than square the ball for CJ Sapong. Medunjanin’s shot was easily saved, but Sapong was unable to put the ball into the back of the net, as his shot lacked pace and was saved by Zack Steffen.

That was the last, best chance by either club to score as the Crew simply wound the clock down while the Union looked defeated even before the whistle blew for the end of the match. Another away match and another loss. Something has to change, as this team can’t continue to put the same players in the same positions out there and expect a different result.