The Philadelphia Union’s season opener in Ohio may not have brought home many points, but it’s difficult to say that the trip to Columbus wasn’t worth it for the Union. The Union won against a solid Columbus side coming off of a historic season for the club, as well as two Concacaf Champions League matches from the past two weeks.
Much of the Union’s success can be owed to goalkeeper Andre Blake, who stopped six shots from Columbus to record his first clean sheet of the 2021 regular season, several times extending across the net to do so. From Columbus 1.3 expected goals, they earned none.
On the other side, Philadelphia’s offense put intense, but less accurate pressure on the Crew. The Union fired off fifteen shots, though only five of them were on the mark, and like the Crew, none went in due to some incredible goalkeeping. Outside of Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos however, the Union offense was quiet, and the Crew was largely able to shut down young Anthony Fontana from making any such noise.
While the Union’s showing in Columbus might not have put them on top of the first-week rankings, it gave them good competition early in the season, something that they’ll be grateful for in their upcoming Champions League matches, and as they look to make waves in the Eastern Conference.