The Philadelphia Union got a much needed win against DC United tonight at home in Chester, PA. The lone goal of the game was scored in the 92nd minute by Zach Pfeffer off a cross from Fabinho. It snapped a four game losing streak for the Union and gave the Black-and-Red their first loss since the 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls early in the season.
The Union played with a sense of urgency from start to finish, they were desperately searching for a result and it was evident by their pressure. More often than not, that energy and effort fell short in the final third. In some cases it was from poor touch, others it was the opposing keeper in Bill Hamid.
Philadelphia dominated the possession battle and dictated the terms at which the game would be played, that doesn’t mean that DC didn’t have any chances. The had several at the start of the game, but weren’t sharp enough in the final third to capitalize. The Union’s activity led to far more chances than United would get, Philadelphia earned eight corners to United’s one.
Connor Casey appeared to have scored the game’s opening goal in the 16th minute, but he touched the ball with his hand while trying to trap the ball. The right call was made and the score was taken off the books. Bill Hamid had a very big game for DC, playing the ball aggressively in the air and taking on a few point blank shots from Union players. Kofi Opare had another strong outing as well, winning in 1v1 situations by getting stops against smaller and larger players alike.
The Black-and-Red’s best chance to score came on a shot from rookie Miguel Aguilar, early in the second half. Rolfe got the ball to him and he had two defenders on his hip going to his left, he did a step-over to create some separation before placing a shot to the right. It went past the keeper’s hands, but it would hit the right goal post. The youngster got his first career start and nearly tallied his first career goal, he was one of the bright spots for United.
The team had been preparing for the upcoming schedule in way they play 11 games in 50 days, Olsen stated just that last week when mentioning that there will be ‘at least one change’ to the starting 11 in the coming weeks. Markus Halsti had his season debut, playing nearly 80 minutes, Aguilar and Korb got to start as well. Sean Franklin sat out his first full game of the season, Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon who had started the previous game started the game on the bench as well.
It’s been made clear several times that it doesn’t matter who is in the starting 11, DC expects to get a result no matter the opponent. That being said, this was one of the poorer outings of the season. Having been in the locker room after draws, this bunch doesn’t believe in moral victories or silver linings. DC’s next game is May 23rd when they take on the New England Revolution on the road.
- Played Slow. The Black-and-Red just couldn’t seem to match the energy level of the Union
- Sustaining Possession. DC has had issues this season dictating tempo, but had seemed to be much better in that area as of late
- Lack of runs. Prior to this game, United had started to do a better job of creating movement in the final third. Players were making runs to create space for others deep in enemy territory. Not so much in this match
- Opare, Hamid. They were the most solid on the back end in this match, both came up big time after time to stifle Union attacks
- Opportunity. During this stretch of games where there’s not much rest and many games will be played. There’s chances for players to carve out minutes and make impressions on the coaching staff. It’ll be interesting to see what the starting 11 is down the stretch of the regular season heading to the playoffs