Crew tops Union 2-1 in reserve action

Ekpo tallies goal and assist, Gardner nets game-winner

The Columbus Crew reserves (6-1-0) came back from an early 1-0 deficit to move into first place in the MLSRL East Division, edging the Union reserves (2-6-1) 2-1 on Sunday morning at Chester Park.

After Jack McInerney opened the scoring in the 14th minute, Crew first-team regular Emmanuel Ekpo wasted no time equalizing, striking from just beyond the area two minutes later. Ekpo also set up Columbus’ game-winner in the 75th minute, a beautiful strike by Josh Gardner from distance into the upper 90.

Philadelphia opened the scoring with a well-worked sequence that originated with Danny Mwanga in the midfield. The top pick of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft found Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Sainey Touray streaking down the left flank. Touray crossed for McInerney, who took a touch and beat Crew goalkeeper Alex Riggs.

Ekpo – who was unavailable for the first team on Saturday night due to a red card Wednesday against Houston - erased Philadelphia’s lead in the 16th minute. The Nigerian midfielder struck a low drive from 20 yards out past goalkeeper Thorne Holder to level the match at 1-1.

The Crew took the lead in the 75th minute when Ekpo found Gardner 30 yards from goal. Gardner took a touch and sent a curling shot far post past Union academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Columbus will return to Reserve League action on Oct. 2 vs. second-place D.C. United.

Scoring summary:
PHI -- Jack McInerney (unassisted) 14
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo (unassisted) 16
CLB – Josh Gardner (Emmanuel Ekpo) 75

Philadelphia Union – Thorne Holder (Zack Steffen 46); Ryan Richter, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Joe Tait, Campbell; Morgan Langley (Thomas Shiiba), Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Sainey Touray; Danny Mwanga (Darius Madison 58), Jack McInerney (Zach Pfeffer 58)

Substitutes not used: None
 
Columbus Crew – Alex Riggs; Ben Sippola (Dominic Aracri 86), Kevin Burns, Josh Williams, Josh Gardner; Emmanuel Ekpo, Cole Grossman, Santiago Prim, Justin Meram (Greg Gehrig); Jhonny Arteaga (George Davis 83), Jeff Cunningham (Aaron Horton 64)

Substitutes not used: Chris Konopka

Misconduct Summary:

PHI – Joe Tait (caution; reckless tackle) 18
PHI – Kyle Nakazawa (caution; reckless tackle) 60
CLB – Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; reckless tackle) 63