Fafa Picault goes airborne for a ball in the box. Credit: Fimmano Photography

Fafa Picault goes airborne for a ball in the box. Credit: Fimmano Photography

Union stop DC United 1-0

Despite some bizarre officiating and a lackluster second half, the Union beat the goal-starved DC United 1-0 in Chester.

Fafa Picault scored the lone tally. Alejandro Bedoya had the assist. Andre Blake made four saves, including several of the spectacular variety, to keep the clean sheet.

The match started like every other Union-D.C. match: it was physical and at times, downright nasty. Referee Sorin Stoica was indecisive multiple times during the match: in the thirteenth minute, C.J. Sapong was shoved down in the area by Kofi Opare and Stoica appeared to start to raise his hand to point to the spot, but then stopped. Later in the second half, Stoica issued a straight red card to Luciano Acosta for taking down Haris Medunjanin near the touch line, but then put the card back in his pocket and Acosta was allowed to continue. Coupled with many other physical challenges that should have been whistled but weren’t, (at one point Opare was bleeding from the face and had to change his entire uniform before being allowed to come back on) he had a very uneven night.

The Union got on the board in the thirty-first minute as captain Alejandro Bedoya sent in a lofted cross from the right side which Fafa Picault left-footed volleyed in low and hard to the short side under D.C. keeper Bill Hamid. The goal was Picault’s fourth of the year. It turned out to be all the Union would need, but it could have easily not been the case.

D.C. started carrying play at about the fiftieth minute, and it culminated with a penalty in the seventieth minute. A D.C. shot ricocheted off of Union defender Oguchi Onyewu’s arm and Stoica awarded D.C. with a spot kick. Blake dove to his right at full stretch to stone Lamar Neagle and keep his sheet clean, his sixth of the year. In the dying moments of the match, an Acosta cross found Neagle’s head and was ticketed to go bar-down on Blake, but Blake got to it and tipped it over the bar.

D.C. has scored just twelve goals all season, good for dead last in the league.

The win breaks a three-match losing streak for the Union and gives them some desperately-needed points going into a stretch of play of three matches in eight days; they have an Open Cup match this Wednesday against the Red Bulls in Harrison, and then a league match this Sunday against New England in Chester.