CHESTER, Pa. — Following his stunning right-footed strike and game-winning goal late in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew, Fabian Herbers celebrated with a standing front flip.
“I’ve done it in the past, back in Germany,” he said with a smile. “It was a special goal and I thought i’d bring it back.”
The celebration came as a shock for the Union players, who didn’t expect that outburst from the rookie. Normally stoic and possessing an unflappable demeanor, the German pulled off his best impression of Eric Ayuk — the Union attacker who became famous last season with his super flip goal celebration.
“I didn’t really see it because I was too tired, I just saw the landing,” Union forward Sebastien Le Toux said. “I don’t think it’s the same as Ayuk. It’s not as quality, but it’s OK. I think he surprised more than one guy when he did it.”
While the celebration surprised the Union, the goal didn’t.
Off the rush, Herbers accepted a lead pass from Ilsinho. Once in the box, did a hard cutback, moving the ball from his left foot to right, causing the lone defender’s ankles to break. With space, Herbers laced a perfectly played right-footed volley in the top right corner.
“We see it in training everyday,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “He’s a kid that around the goal, is incredibly sharp. He has a knack for losing his center back and being in the right spot at the right time and composure. He cuts it to his strong foot and puts it in a pretty good spot.”
Mainly used as a late-game substitute, the goal was Herbers’ first MLS tally in 12 games.
“I’m very happy, I appreciate the trust of the coaches and that they put me in late in the games,” he said. “I’ve had several chances in other games but got unlucky. I finally hit one into the net and I’m happy about that.”
Crew forward Conor Casey made his memorable return to Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday, but it wasn’t the kind of memory anyone expected.
The forward, who spent three years and scored 21 goals with the Union, entered in the 74th minute and was ejected with a straight red card just three minutes later for a collision with Keegan Rosenberry.
“There’s not a foul and I get a red card,” he said. “So it’s pretty puzzling.”
Still, Casey entered the game with chants of his name from the Union faithful. The chants continued as he slowly plodded off the field in disbelief.
“It’s nice, it was a great atmosphere,” Casey said. “It was great to see the guys, and it was tough result for us obviously. Really disappointing, but good to see the club doing well.”
Crediting the player's 2014 goal-scoring run as a reason he was hired as full-time Union manager, Curtin still wasn't upset to see Casey's celebrated night ruined.
"I love Conor Casey, he’s a friend and he’s a great player," Curtin said. "I’m not surprised they cheered him off. At the same time, I was thinking thank god there’s not two forwards up there for the last 15 minutes, because Conor is a guy who is very dangerous."