Jamiro Monteiro’s first-half goal proved to be enough for the Philadelphia Union to defeat the Columbus Crew 1-0 Wednesday night in front of the first max-capacity crowd at Subaru Park in over a year and half. With the win, the Union hold their third place position behind Orlando despite being level on points.
The Union opened with a familiar lineup against the Crew with Jamiro Monteiro back in the 10 position and Cory Burke starting at forward alongside Kacper Przybylko. Leon Flach stayed at the base of the midfield diamond while José Martinez continues to represent Venezuela in the Copa America. Jack McGlynn made his third MLS start, and Jakob Glesnes, who scored a potential goal of the year in the Union’s 2-2 draw against Atlanta, inspired calls for “Shoot” whenever he touched the ball. Glesnes and Jack Elliott paired together for the 14th straight game in central defense and added a sixth shutout in ten MLS games. Daniel Gazdág remained out with a minor knee injury and Anthony Fontana was ruled out earlier in the week after entering concussion protocol.
For Columbus, MLS Best XI Lucas Zelarayan started on the bench while Trinidad and Tobago international Kevin Molino made his first start for the club since joining from Minnesota in the offseason. Gyasi Zardes, fresh off a two-goal performance against the Chicago Fire, also started alone up top but was kept in check the entire night. MLS veteran Darlington Nagbe was snuffed out in the center of midfield and Jonathan Mensah anchored the stout Columbus back line that faced waves of pressure from Union attacks in the first half. Eloy Room, who battled Andre Blake in the 0-0 draw to start the season, faced only five shots, but the only one on target found its way into the back of the net.
In a typical Union-Crew matchup, Columbus utilized the shift and cover in midfield, forcing the Union to play around and through congested areas as both teams felt each other out in the opening minutes. The Union had a number of effective combinations down the right side with Alejandro Bedoya and Olivier Mbaizo but couldn’t convert the crosses. Cory Burke gave the Columbus defenders all sorts of trouble throughout the first half with surging runs in and around the box. His header in the 22nd minute off Kai Wagner’s corner went just over the bar, and another shot ten minutes later was blocked by a Columbus defender and almost headed in by Leon Flach.
The Union opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Monteiro ripped a left-footed shot into the net from the top of the box. The goal came off another combination down the right side with Olivier Mbaizo’s cross into the mixer headed out to an open Monteiro. Monteiro took the ball down with his chest and fired home between Room’s legs for his fourth goal of the season. The goal appeared to settle the Union, who were satisfied with holding the one-goal lead for the remainder of the game.
Zelarayan replaced Molino at halftime, and Columbus became more attack-minded, but the Union were able to stay behind the ball and defend the box. With the introduction of Matt Real for McGlynn and Sergio Santos for Burke in the 57th minute, the Union showed their hand at defend and counter, and effectively rode out the game in Columbus-style.
The game almost switched momentum in the 72nd minute when Matt Real was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle, but referee Joseph Dickerson changed the card to yellow after a VAR review. Columbus had a chance for an equalizer late, but Andre Blake made a strong save from close range on Marlon Hairston. The Union spent the final ten minutes keeping Columbus out of the penalty area to secure its first win over the Crew since March 2019.
The Union will be back in action Saturday for their second trip to Chicago against the twice rebranded Fire at 8:00.
PHI: Monteiro 25’
CLB: Matan 43’
CLB: Wormgoor 51’
PHI: Real 72’
PHI: Flach 84’
Union: Blake, Mbaizo (Powell 90’), Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner, Flach, Bedoya (Sullivan 79’), McGlynn (Real 58’), Monteiro, Burke (Santos 58’), Przybylko
Unused Subs: Freese, Collin, Findlay, Turner, Aaronson
Crew: Room, Afful, Mensah, Wormgoor, Santos, Nagbe, Fraser (Francis 76’), Molino (Zelarayan 45’), Matan (Valenzuela 61’), Eienne Jr. (Hairston 76’), Zardes
Unused Subs: Bush, Abdul-Salaam, Keita, Parente