Highlights and context: First half explosion fuels Philadelphia win

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You never want to fall behind, let alone the way Columbus did in Philadelphia (a deflection of a long shot wrong-footing Andy Gruenebaum early), but the Crew did themselves no favors over an early, seven minute span that defined Wednesday’ match at PPL Park. Poor defending on crosses by Sebastien Le Toux helped put three goals between teams that could end up battling for fifth in the East, the Union using their 3-0 lead to cruise past Columbus and pull even with Houston and Kansas City.

All three teams have 22 points, though the Dynamo have played the fewert number of games. Potentially more important for Philadelphia, they’re now three points clear of sixth place, a spot occupied by the improving New England Revolution.

Columbus, conversely, miss their chance to jump into fifth, a place they would hold had they won in Philadelphia. Instead, Robert Warzycha’s team sits seventh, two points behind the Revolution.

The slide started in the 25th minute when a speculative shot from Brian Carroll deflected off Eric Gehrig and into the right of goal, Andy Gruenebaum moving the opposite direction before the deflection. Four minutes later, Sheanon¬†Williams slipped his man at the far post on a corner kick, his athletic finish of an open volley doubling Philadelphia’s lead. Two minutes later, Conor Casey beat his man near post on a Le Toux cross, heading home the game’s final goal in the 31st minute.

Perhaps as remarkable as Philadelphia’s first half explosion, Jack McInerney was not involved. The Union striker came into the night with a league-leading 10 goals yet wasn’t apart of his team’s onslaught. Now with 22 goals through 15 games, the Union finally have more non-McInerney goals than Jack Mac specials.