Columbus, OH – Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Union will aim for a second consecutive victory on Saturday when the club battles the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.
After an offseason midfield overhaul, the Union have gotten off to a fine start in 2014, earning a point at Providence Park against the Portland Timbers before opening the home portion of their schedule with a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution last weekend.
The Union had the better of the play during a dominant first half in which they kept nearly 70 percent of possession before earning their reward in the 31st minute.
Leo Fernandes got the scoring play started when he rolled off New England defender Andrew Farrell on the left flank and continued toward goal before squaring the ball for a wide-open Sebastien Le Toux, who slid the ball home for the only goal of the game.
Fernandes, who filled in for an ill Brian Carroll, made the most of his impromptu start.
"Anytime (Union head coach John Hackworth) Hack calls my name, I'm ready," said Fernandes, who played in seven matches with starts for a total of 281 minutes last season with the Union. "I think, for me, with how hard it was for me to get here, I try to be ready all the time. I was very excited when they told me I was started. I was a little bit nervous, but truthfully, I was more excited.
"I've been waiting for this. I think any player in this league wants to start and we're all professionals. It was a thrill for me and I'm glad we were able to come out with the three points."
"I think you saw in the first 10 minutes of the game it was a little shaky," said Hackworth. "The guys haven't trained with those players in those positions all week long but Leo has been in some of preseason activities with these guys. I told Leo that you don't have to be the best player on the field; all you have to do is your job, play your role, manage your minutes and I thought he did a good job with that today."
Columbus, meanwhile, had a bye last weekend, but put in a strong performance in its season opener on March 8 against D.C. United -- a 3-0 victory at RFK Stadium.
Hector Jimenez combined with Josh Williams to set up Jairo Arrieta for the Crew's first goal 18 minutes in. Jimenez one-timed a pass from Gonzalez to a streaking Williams on the right flank, and Williams struck a curling, one- touch cross to Arrieta, who's sliding effort found got past outstretched goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Columbus doubled its advantage in the 27th minute when Federico Higuain converted a penalty kick and Higuain made it 3-0 in the 90th minute.
"I think we played well, the game was a good game," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "I mean ideally, you want to fully control the game for a full 90 minutes, but I don't think we did that. When I look at going on the road and controlling the opponent, I think we did well. We scored two fantastic goals on the road and I'm happy with our overall performance."
In two meetings between the sides last season, Philadelphia went unbeaten against Columbus with a 1-1 draw at Crew Stadium on April 6, and a 3-0 win on June 5 at PPL Park.