COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Columbus Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor said his first goal off a set piece was one that had been run over and over again in practice.
His second wasn’t the kind that can be duplicated in training.
Anor’s brilliant 35-yard strike at the end of the first half proved to be the difference in Columbus’ 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union Saturday in the Crew’s home opener.
“That’s what the game’s all about,” he said of the score that gave him his first multi-goal game of his career. “It’s something you don’t practice very often. I was fortunate to score the goal.”
Anor previously had six goals in 45 games, including four in 20 games last season.
Columbus won the first two games of the season for the first time in its 19-year history while the Union fell to 1-1-1.
Leonardo Fernandes scored in the 62nd minute for Philadelphia to cut the deficit, but the first-half struggles were too much to overcome and Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark made late saves on Fernandes and Jack McInerney.
“The team last year might have crumbled a bit,” Union goalkeeper Zac McMath said. “We came back and deserved a tie, if not a win.”
Anor gave the Crew a 2-0 lead in the second minute of first-half stoppage time.
The goal was set up when Wil Trapp created a turnover at midfield and poked the ball ahead to Anor for the quick strike.
“Our philosophy is to try and win the ball back as soon as possible,” Trapp said. “I stepped into the lane and Bernardo had a beautiful strike. I was lucky to get an assist. He was the one that did all the work.”
Columbus used its first corner kick to take the lead. Federico Higuain whipped the ball from the right to Anor, who was unmarked at the edge of the goal box. Anor had waited for several of his teammates to make runs through the box to draw attention.
Anor was the trailer and Higuain laced a perfect ball that Anor headed down into the goal.
“We lost our man,” Union coach John Hackworth said. “We should have had an easy clearance on the goal, too. Neither one of those should have happened.”