MLS Wednesday Rewind: Crew top Union, D.C. United drops Red Bulls, and more

MLS Wednesday Rewind: Crew top Union, D.C. United drops Red Bulls, and more

There is a new first-place team in the MLS Eastern Conference after Wednesday’s stacked schedule of matches.

The Columbus Crew defeated the Philadelphia Union to leapfrog Toronto FC into first place in the East.

It was a night to forget for the New York Red Bulls, which surrendered a goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time to drop a brutal loss to a short-handed D.C. United.

Inter Miami was unable to escape last place in the East, but did record a hard-earned point after a goal-less draw against Atlanta United.

Here is a closer look at Wednesday’s MLS action:

Crew 1, Union 0

(Zelarayan 55′)

Caleb Porter’s side used a second half goal from Lucas Zelarayan to edge the visiting Philadelphia Union 1-0 at Mapfre Stadium. The Designated Player’s right-footed shot deflected in past Andre Blake, which was the only goal the Crew needed to earn its first win since the MLS is Back Tournament.

Andre Blake was the busier of the two keepers, making four saves and keeping the Union in the match early. However, the Union couldn’t put away some good opportunities from Brenden Aaronson in the opening half, before ultimately missing a golden chance after the Crew took the lead.

Sergio Santos blasted a shot over the crossbar from close range instead of opting to pass to a wide open Kacper Przybylko. The Union would ultimately suffer its first defeat since Orlando, sitting five points back of the Crew in the East.

Man of the Match

Lucas Zelarayan scored the only goal of the game and overall was the best player on the field. He had two shots in total and completed 82% of his passes. The Designated Player almost iced the match not long after giving the Crew a lead and showed once again why the team acquired him this offseason.

Moment of the Match

Sergio Santos had a golden chance to tie things up for the Union, but instead trusted his ability in front of goal. After creating room for a shot, Santos ripped a shot from close range which landed in the stands. Kacper Przybylko was wide open in front of goal screaming for the pass and was left frustrated after it never came.

Match to Forget

After scoring in his last two games, Przybylko failed to record a shot on goal in the loss. The German striker couldn’t get on the end of any crosses into the box despite playing the full 90 minutes. Jim Curtin will hope Przybylko can bounce back this weekend at FC Cincinnati.

Red Bulls 0, D.C. United 1

(Sorga 90+7′)

The New York Red Bulls faced a severely short-handed D.C. United side that went to Red Bull Arena hoping to escape with a point and watched the visitors take all three in dramatic and gut-wrenching fashion.

Erik Sorga came on in the 90th minute and scored the winner, hitting a hopeful shot from the top of the penalty area that took a slight deflection before beating Ryan Meara.

The Red Bulls squandered an opportunity against a D.C. United side playing without Bill Hamid, Edison Flores and Steve Birnbaum. Chris Armas’ side outshot D.C. United 14-5, but only four of those shots were on target and the Red Bulls struggled to generate truly dangerous chances.

The Red Bulls best chances came in the 24th minute when Tom Barlow forced a strong save out of Chris Seitz before sending his follow-up shot off the post.

Man of the Match

Donovan Pines was a force in the D.C. United defense, recording eight clearances, six interceptions and six recoveries to help keep the Red Bulls off the scoreboard.

Moment of the Match

Erik Sorga’s speculative shot came in the dying seconds of the match and delivered a much-needed win for D.C. United.

Match to Forget

Tom Barlow was active, but ineffective, and will kick himself for not finishing his chances on a night when D.C. United was there for the beating.

Atlanta United 0, Miami 0

Atlanta United and Inter Miami played to a scoreless draw in a cagey affair at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday night. Both teams had chances to break the deadlock in a game that finished with 39 combined fouls, but neither side found the necessary quality in front of the net.

Inter Miami had arguably the best two chances in the Eastern Conference clash, with Nicolas Figal scuffing a point blank shot in the 39th minute and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez firing another close-range effort over the crossbar in the 55th.

Atlanta United could have gone up after just 11 minutes, but Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres’ volleyed attempt went high and wide of the frame after getting on the end of a cross from Brooks Lennon.

Man of the Match

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Helped keep Atlanta United at bay for much of the 90 minutes and passed well out of the back. He should have done better on his golden chance early in the second half, but all in all he enjoyed a solid return to Atlanta.

Moment of the Match

Mystifying Miss. Nicolas Figal is a defender so finishing is clearly not his forte, but he still should have done better on his glorious opportunity right in front of goal minutes before halftime. A horrible miss he will surely rue.

Match to Forget

Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres. The Atlanta United striker failed to put away a good look early on, and then disappeared for much of the remainder of the match. He did not get a whole lot of service, but still needed to do more to find the game and give his team more of a threat.

Cincinnati 0,  Fire 0

With its last open-play goal coming on July 22nd in the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, FC Cincinnati was blanked again, and twice in as many weeks by the Chicago Fire.

A goalless first half was headlined by a pair of chances from Cincinnati, one where Jürgen Loacida found himself offside after drawing Bobby Shuttleworth off his line, and another where Siem de Jong rushed himself to sky one over the bar from the middle of the box.

Much of the same story in the second half, and it looked like the deadlock was broken in the 70th minute when Ignacio Aliseda ripped one past Przemysław Tytoń at point-blank, but a handball by Boris Sekulic in the build-up warranted the slate being wiped clean after review.

Issuing consecutive scoreless draws to the two most recent teams to defeat it, FC Cincinnati and new coach Jaap Stam will desperately need to get someone going as a consistent goal scorer.

Man of the Match

Fire backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth delivered a big performance, and one of his three saves stopped Locadia from point-blank for what was the best individual play of the game.

Moment of the Match

Siem De Jong had a chance to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead as the first half came to a close, but he was not calm in the highest-leverage situation of the game and wasted a golden opportunity.

Match to Forget

In FCC’s restart efforts, the new DP striker has yet to score from open play. With his best look ruled offside, he was denied by Shuttleworth in the 55th and left with nothing showing his new boss something positive.

Revolution 0,  NYCFC 2

(Mancienne (OG) 60′, Heber 72′)

NYCFC won its second straight match and halted a seven-match unbeaten run by New England on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Anton Tinnerholm helped open the scoring for NYCFC in the 60th minute when he raced down the right wing and served up a dangerous ball toward the front of goal that was redirected into the net by Revs defender Michael Manciennes.

The Revs saw a would-be equalizer denied when a long-range blast from Gustavo Bou forced Sean Johnson into an excellent reaction save.

Brazilian striker Heber scored his first MLS goal of 2020 in the 72nd minute when he headed home a Ronald Matarrita corner kick to make the score 2-0.

 Man of the Match

Ronald Matarrita did it all for NYCFC on Wednesday, delivering a game-high nine tackles and four interceptions while also providing the assist on Heber’s goal.

Moment of the Match

Sean Johnson’s save on Gustavo Bou in the 70th minute denied a tied-turning equalizer and came just two minutes before Heber provided the insurance tally.

Match to Forget

Michael Manciennes didn’t just surrender an own goal, he had a rough night passing-wise, and provided little defensively in a forgettable overall performance.