Late penalty helps Crew edge Union

CrewUnion (Getty)

The Columbus Crew finished ahead of the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, but did so by the slimmest of margins.

A questionable penalty call against Philadelphia defender Sheanon Williams helped give the Crew a PK, and Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon looked to save the ensuing penalty only to see it trickle past him and into the net to help give Columbus a 2-1 victory at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.

Philadelphia out-shot Columbus 17-6, and enjoyed a 13-3 corner kick edge, but couldn't convert those advantages into more than just one Velko Paunovic header goal. The Crew opened the scoring on an Emilio Renteria finish off a quality passing sequence and closed the game out when Andres Mendoza converted the penalty earned when Williams was whistled for a handball on a Robbie Rogers cross.

Columbus road its stingy defense yet again to open up a four-point lead atop the Eastern Conference. Despite aforementioned statistical advantages held by the Union, the Crew held the edge in possession and were never really in jeopardy of losing at home.

The loss, coupled with Houston's win against RSL, dropped Philadelphia to third place in the East, and the Union could fall to fourth if Sporting Kansas City beats D.C. United tonight.

Freddy Adu made his second apperance for the Union, coming on as a 60th-minute substitute.

Here are the match highlights.

What did you think of the match? Impressed with Columbus? Wondering if the Union can turn things around and challenge for first place again?

Share your thoughts below.

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19 Responses to Late penalty helps Crew edge Union

  1. AndyC says:

    Williams threw his hands up. Maybe it was instinct, maybe not. In the end, he handled the ball when it appeared that he wanted to handle it (as in, his hands weren’t just in that position – he moved them there).

    Obviously you have a bias to your region, so you’re going to call it “questionable”. More times than not, a ref would let this one go, but this time he didn’t. I wouldn’t call that “questionable”.

  2. Lorenzo says:

    Went to the game. Crew are pretty brutish team in first half. But wen Renteria and Mendoza left, and Anor and Duka etc came on it was more attractive (and skillful) soccer. Those two plus the other young guys they have is a nice young core. Wish Anor was a US citizen.

    Adu didn’t see the ball that much, seemed to run through Williams a lot, almost Cherundelo like. When Adu had the ball he most just played smart nice passes.

  3. Matt says:

    Philly scored their goal on a corner kick in which they hacked Hesmer and threw him off on his trajectory to make a play on the ball. Furthermore, Heinemann was brought down in the box for a clear penalty and it wasn’t called. The Crew were the better team on the night and earned the 3 points.

  4. mat says:

    “Philadelphia out-shot Columbus 17-6, and enjoyed a 13-3 corner kick edge”

  5. marco says:

    Will Adu be a bench player under Nowak?

  6. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I was just wonering the same thing. They both seemed to say all the “right” things at his introduction but come on already…he’s a starter…

  7. PJFan821 says:

    Actually, Columbus has a 5pt lead in the East.
    Some pretty biased reporting overall. It wasnt that questionable of a PK, it wasnt “late”, and as was said ealier PU’s goal came thanks to interference.

    It was a pretty even match-up but the better team won.

  8. RB says:

    Well interestingly this leaves only 1 of 7 MLS matches from last night out of the coverage here. It did feature atopped 4 team, 2 significant player/league milestones and a DP’s first appearance with his new side, scrambling for a playoff spot, as well as a late goal that was a result changer. Not sure why it wouldn’t be included. Maybe just coincidence?

  9. RB says:

    *a top

    (auto-“correct”!)

  10. pd says:

    I watched the second half and was frankly disappointed in Philly’s effort. There was a lack of crispness in their play. Simple passes at midfield were a little off, crosses, corners and shots were mostly speculative. It’s almost as if there’s a bit of desperation in their play –maybe trying too hard to break the offensive funk they’re dealing with right now.

    I won’t say the hand ball call was questionable, but the Union have been on the receiving end of a lot of weird/cheap goals lately: the squibbler against Dallas, silly mistakes & breaks in concentration that they’ve been punished for (the first goal vs. Dallas and the hand ball against Columbus). Those moments have to be eliminated if they are going to be contenders.

    They are still in a good position, but these past two weeks show what it will take for Philly to make it through the playoffs and right now they are not showing that they have what it takes. With DC finding their form and if NYRB gets hot we’re gonna have a hell of a sprint to the end of the season.

    What will it take? Pretty simple actually: Mwanga and LeToux need to find the back of the net. That starts with Adu and Mapp scoring and drawing some pressure that currently sits on Letoux.

  11. D says:

    Mapp sucks. He’s the biggest waste of talent. He should not start.

    Le Toux would be the next to ride the pine. He actually ruins many scoring opportunities.

    Adu, Mwanga, and Micheal Farfan should be starting always.

  12. Stuart says:

    I am a Crew-homer, season tix, etc. Philly fans, LeToux worked his butt off. Be proud of the effort he put in. But he got NO service, and why is he taking corner kicks? Shouldn’t he be in the box. I did not see the hand ball very well live, his back was to me, but I did see his arms move toward his chest. The replay shows it coming up in what seems to be to protect himself, and yes, that is a hand ball. Marshall was beast again, James had a good game, and Miranda was solid. Overall, one of the best games of the season, because it was competitive.

  13. Richard says:

    The way the short story Ives posted about the games reads, I doubt he watched the match himself. Although the Union held an advantage in some categories, not too many of the shots were ones that really challenged Hesmer or the rest of the Crew’s defense.

    My opinion on the penalty from my chair at home. Williams put his arms up and from the angle shown on ONN (Crew’s local coverage) it looked like the ball could have deflected off his side and gone further into the box. If this is the case, it’s a clear penalty. If the tv angle wasn’t right or I just plain saw it wrong, it can be seen as questionable, but regardless, Williams did put his arms up instead of leaving them down.

    Good win for the “rebuilding” Crew. MASSIVE

  14. Ski Fast! says:

    Why is Le Toux taking corner kicks? It’s the same question I’ve been asking since the middle of last season!

  15. Ski Fast! says:

    The Union’s trouble starts in the midfield, they’ve never yet had the consistent ability to complete passes in the attacking part of the field, it’s simple soccer. Their lack of timely and smart runs into space (forwards are just as guilty) is now catching up with them as the defense has started to falter a bit. If you do not combine with any imagination going forward, you simply do not create scoring chances. Their problem is not so much finishing their chances as it is creating enough quality scoring chances. Nowak has done very little to improve this since last season.

  16. pd says:

    Now that they have Adu especially

  17. pd says:

    I dunno, don’t you think Carroll is a solid addition? I also think Mapp has done well…

  18. AD22 says:

    Hesmer flopped worse than the former-Union “fish”, and subsequently whined about it. You can’t “handle” a ball when you instinctively pull your arms into your chest, as any defender worth his salt should do when inside the 18. Columbus was hardly the better team on the night, something that the scoreline falsely portrays; they were gifted this game. Enjoy your temporary time at the top of the East …

  19. The Jamericadian says:

    The Crew has collectively been the top team in the East for a few years now…not temporary at all