Sebastien Le Toux scored again Saturday night, and this time it produced a win for the Philadelphia Union.
"It's been a difficult two months," Union coach Peter Nowak said. "There's not much to analyze. It wasn't easy. It was quite a relief with this win."
Philadelphia (9-7-12) had three losses and five draws during its winless skid, including one loss when Le Toux had a goal and two ties when he scored twice.
But for the first time since April 30, when Le Toux had the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, the Union were able to earn three points in a match he scored.
More importantly, Philadelphia maintained a shutout with Zac MacMath in goal - and a starting lineup that averaged under 24 years old. The Union moved within two points of Columbus (11-10-8), which still leads the Eastern Conference.
"As a team, it feels a lot better to finally break the winless streak and get three points," MacMath said. "I think everyone's just relieved to finally get a win under our belt."
The Crew are now winless in four matches, three of which are losses.
MacMath was called into action early and did well to dive and push a shot wide from the Crew's Andres Mendoza, who is third in MLS with 11 goals this season.
Le Toux responded with the lone goal of the match in the 32nd minute. He broke in on goal after a nice diagonal ball from Roger Torres, and finished to the bottom-right corner for his seventh goal of the season.
Sixteen-year-old midfielder Zach Pfeffer nearly marked his debut with a goal, but after accepting a pass from Le Toux in the final stages of the first half, failed to get much on a shot after a nice settle and turn.
Pfeffer's debut ended after 63 minutes, but the Union made Le Toux's goal the difference, as MacMatch earned his second shutout of the season.
"We can't let one mistake beat us," Crew goalie William Hesmer said. "We have to find a way to be dangerous. I don't think that there was one moment in the game tonight where we ever threatened the young kid (MacMath) in goal."
Philadelphia will try to build on the win Friday in another key East match, as it visits Sporting Kansas City. Columbus will try to snap its slide at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sept. 24.