Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Eastern Conference rivals will clash on Wednesday as the Philadelphia Union host Columbus Crew SC at PPL Park.
Philadelphia has struggled for the majority of the season, but appeared to get things slightly back on track with consecutive wins over D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls.
But the bad luck that has plagued Jim Curtin's side returned last week when Chris Rolfe converted a penalty kick with five minutes to play to give United a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium last time out.
Philadelphia opened the scoring in the fifth minute as Andrew Wenger did well to draw several defenders before sliding the ball to the right to Sebastien Le Toux, who took a quick touch and fired it into the bottom left corner.
United pulled level in first-half stoppage time when Chris Pontius got on the end of a long cross from Taylor Kemp and powered a header into the top right corner.
The hosts collected the winner five minutes from time after referee Ted Unkel whistled for a handball in the penalty area, awarding a penalty kick to United.
Rolfe stepped up and blasted it into the right side netting, leaving Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre rooted to his spot.
"We came out this game confident, believing in ourselves, believing in our ability, and wanted to pressure to put them on the back foot and we did that," defender Maurice Edu said. "The whole group pressured as a unit where we created that first goal. And we could've had a second, and maybe a third, in the first half."
Curtin echoed the thoughts of his captain:
"I thought in the first half we came out very strong," the manager said. "[We] had a chance to get up 2-0 with Andrew's look at goal, had another head ball opportunity to get up 2-0, and if you let a team like D.C. hang around, they'll take advantage."
Columbus, meanwhile, will attempt to get back on the winning track after conceding a late equalizer to draw Orlando City, 2-2, at the Citrus Bowl last week.
Columbus opened the scoring after just six minutes when Tony Tchani, the former New York Red Bull, got on the end of an excellent cross from Hector Jimenez and nodded it home.
Crew SC then went down to 10 men when Michael Parkhurst was shown a straight red card for a handball in the penalty area.
Kaka stepped up and made no mistake, slotting home his sixth goal of the season.
Crew SC regained the lead just past the hour mark as Kei Kamara got on the end of a brilliant ball from Waylon Frances and powered home a header for his league- leading 10th goal of the season.
It looked like Columbus would take all three points, but Pedro Ribeiro came to the rescue in the 89th minute when he blasted a rope of a strike into the corner of the net from 25 yards out.
"What first comes to mind is that I'm proud of the guys for the way they fought and battled for each other," said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter. "To come out of here with the result, we couldn't ask for any more. The determination that the guys showed was outstanding."