Takeaway Points: Philadelphia
The Crew snuck out of PPL Park Wednesday night with three points following Eddie Gaven's stoppage time winner. Here are three focal points from the victory:
1. COMEBACK CREW
For the second-straight match, the Crew fell behind early as Carlos Valdes' free kick took a deflection and skipped by Matt Lampson to put the Union ahead 1-0 in the 29th minute. The Black & Gold battled back and equalized 12 minutes later when Josh Williams scored his first career goal to head home a Federico Higuaín free kick.
However, it seemed like a single point was all the Crew could hope for when Williams was sent off in the 68th minute following an altercation with Union forward Antoine Hoppenot. The Columbus back line of Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, and Danny O'Rourke in front of Lampson withstood a flurry of shots in the final 20 minutes to keep from letting in the Union's second goal.
The defense was rewarded for its efforts when Eddie Gaven found an open net to supply the winner deep into stoppage time and seal the comeback.
"It wasn’t pretty. We absorbed pretty much 40 or 30 minutes of pressure, but we were playing away from home and you've got a man down," O'Rourke said after the game. "We have special players like [Federico] Higuain, Eddie [Gaven], and even Justin Meram coming off the bench. Hope for a goal and they came through."
"It was a battle for sure," Marshall added. "They were throwing a lot of numbers forward, and they got a lot of small, quick, tricky players. It was a difficult game, to not only hold on and not give up a goal, but to also get the winner. It’s just a huge three points for us."
2. THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES FOR WILLIAMS
It was a night of mixed emotions for Josh Williams. After being denied several times this season by either the wood work or officials' decisions, Williams finally netted his first career goal in the 41st minute to bring the Crew equal with the Union before half time.
"It's about damn time," Williams expressed after the match. "It was a big game. It felt good to get one and get us even right before half."
"It was good to get one on the other side of the post," he added.
However, Williams also received his first career red card following a shove to Union striker Antoine Hoppenot. The Crew defender was forced to watch the late drama from the confines of the team locker room.
"It was disappointing. It was a dumb play on my part, you know. We talked about it at halftime. I lost my temper a little bit there, lost my head," Williams said of his ejection. "If there were cameras in [the locker room], people would be laughing. I was going crazy. There were a lot of ups and downs. When [the Crew] had the ball right in front of the net, and as soon as [Gaven] scored, I was jumping around and going nuts. It was definitely a bunch of ups and downs as far as emotions go. It was pretty wild being in here by myself."
3. MARSHALL MILESTONE
Lost in the excitement of Wednesday's match, Crew Captain Chad Marshall passed Mike Clark to sit atop the club's all-time minutes played list in the 80th minute. Marshall had been keeping an eye on the milestone for a while leading up to Wednesday's match.
"It feels great. I’m not going to lie, it’s something I’ve kept track of over the years," Marshall said. I've always kind of hoped to be around long enough to get there."
Marshall turned 28 on August 22, and hopes to spend many more years in Black & Gold.
"I’ve always appreciated those guys that stay at one club their whole career," the Captain explained. "I hope to be one of those guys. It’s truly an honor, and I thank the organization for keeping me around as long as they have."