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Gomez PK helps Union claim first win vs. Crew

Apr 15, 2012 - 1:48 AM Chester, PA (Sports Network) - The struggles in front of goal continued for the Philadelphia Union as the club needed a first-half penalty kick to claim a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew at PPL Park on Saturday.

Gabriel Gomez provided the lone goal seven minutes from halftime as he converted from the spot for his second goal of the season.

The Union have only managed to net three goals from five games this season as Peter Nowak's men failed to create many scoring chances from open play. Ultimately though, the Polish head coach will choose to remember this match as the club's first win of the season.

"It was really important," Nowak said. "I think it was very important to the confidence. They start to see now that the work pays off and we got to keep going."

The breakthrough came in the 38th minute when a shot at goal was blocked by the upper arm of Crew defender Eric Gehrig. Gehrig protested to referee Michael Kennedy that it struck his chest, but the penalty was awarded.

Gomez took the ensuing kick and chipped a cheeky effort right down the middle of the goal. Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum instantly committed to the right and stood no chance at making a save.

"You have to have courage to make a chip (shot)," Nowak said. "It speaks a lot about the confidence this guy's got."

It proved to be all the Union would need as they held on to claim their first win of the season.

"It's tough when you lose the game on calls like that. If it's a penalty it's a penalty, but it's tough when you lose like that," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said.

On four points, Philadelphia (1-3-1) will return to action with a trip to California as the Union will face Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center next Saturday.

Columbus (2-3-0) has lost two in a row, both of which were to Eastern Conference opponents. The Crew will return home to Crew Stadium for their next outing, a meeting with the defending Eastern Conference champion Houston Dynamo on April 21.