CHESTER, Pa. (WCMH) — The Columbus Crew’s 2023 MLS season got off to a rough start with a 4-1 loss Saturday night to defending Eastern Conference champions the Philadelphia Union in Chester.
In the debut match for new head coach Wilfried Nancy, the Black & Gold showed off its new aggressive style of play as they controlled the match in the first 45 minutes. Columbus got its goal in the 28th minute when a Cucho Hernandez shot from outside the box flicked off the heel of Philly defender Jakob Glesnes and into the net.
Despite a dominate first half, Columbus didn’t enter the tunnel in the lead after the Union were awarded a penalty after a handball. Daniel Gazdag slotted it home to make it 1-1. The second half momentum belonged to the home side as they took the lead just seven minutes into the second half through Julian Carranza.
Another called handball against the Crew led to Philly’s second penalty in the 72nd minute, which Gazdag put away to make it 3-1. The icing on the cake for the Union came eight minutes later as Carranza completed his brace and settled the 4-1 win over Columbus.
The loss is the first for the Crew in its MLS season opener since 2016. The Black & Gold will be at Lower.com Field on Saturday to take on D.C. United in its home opener. Philadelphia travels Saturday to take on Inter Miami.