The Columbus Crew moved six points clear at 1 win over the Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium.

Emilio Renteria tallied the opening goal for Columbus in the 37th minute, while the Union answered back five minutes later through Veljko Paunovic.

However, a handball on Philadelphia's Sheanon Williams shortly after the break allowed Andres Mendoza to fire home the winning goal from the penalty spot.

Columbus has now won four of its last five games, with the Union falling six points back as the club is winless in its last five contests.

Danny Mwanga nearly caught Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer off his line with a shot from over 35 yards in the 17th minute, but Hesmer recovered in time to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Robbie Rogers went close with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but he set up the opening goal five minutes later with a left-wing cross that Renteria redirected inside the right post.

The Union answered within five minutes from a corner kick as Keon Daniel swung the ball over the head of Hesmer to the back post where an unmarked Paunovic headed it home.

It took just five minutes into the second half for the hosts to restore their lead as Williams handled the ball inside his own area, giving Mendoza a chance from the penalty spot.

His kick was not that well taken, but it was hit hard enough to deflect over the goal line after hitting the hand of Mondragon.

The Union had a number of corner kicks in the final 10 minutes, and the result wasn't secure until Hesmer produced a save on Sebastien Le Toux in stoppage time as the striker fired a rocket on goal from 14 yards.