On a breezy, heat wave breaking night in Chester PA, the Philadelphia Union (8-6-5, 29 Pts, 2nd place Eastern Conference) easily broke their 2 game MLS losing streak as they shut out visiting DC United (5-7-6, 21 pts, 7th place) 3-0.
Philadelphia Union Starting XI: 4-3-2-1
1 Andre Blake (GK) 12 Keegan Rosenberry (DF) 4 Ken Tribbett (DF) 16 Richie Marquez (DF) 33 Fabinho (DF) 10 Tranquillo Barnetta (MF) 7 Brian Carroll (C) (MF) 25 Ilsinho (MF) 6 Roland Alberg (MF) 13 Chris Pontius (MF) 17 C.J. Sapong (F)
DC United Starting XI: 4-1-4-1
28 Bill Hamid (GK) 2 Taylor Kemp (DF) 15 Steve Bimbaum (DF) 6 Kofi Opare (DF) 5 Sean Franklin (C) (DF) 7 Marcelo Sarvas (MF) 10 Fabian Espindola (FW) 14 Nick DeLeon (MF) 25 Jared Jeffrey (MF) 13 Lamar Neagle (MF) ) 45 Alhaji Kamara
The 1st 20′ saw some feeling out and back and forth rushes with no real chances by either team, until Opare, after a few warnings by the ref for taking down Sapong earlier, got the 1st Yellow of the match bringing down Pontius in the box. Alberg (6) converted on the PK to make it 1-0 Union. The U pretty much controlled the match which lead to the 2nd foul in the box as Ilsinho was pulled down leading to another PK goal, this time by Ilsinho himself – his 1st career MLS goal. He was aiming to be Man of the Match as earlier he made a sweet pass to Pontius for a close in shot well saved by Hamid. The Union D time after time swept or headed troubling crosses free and clear and Blake made a few fairly easy saves to keep the score at Union 2 – DC United Nil, as they reached halftime. The stats bore out the U dominance as the led possession 58.1 to 41.9, Duels won 58.7% to 41.3% and had 5 (2 were PK’s) shots – 3 on target to 2/1 for DC United.
2′ into the 2nd half, off a free kick that was blocked, Ilsinho got his 2nd goal of the night, one-timing the rebound past Hamid. Union coach Jim Curtin after the match said “PK’s are great but I preferred Ilsinho’s 2nd goal in the run of play.” The first real testers of the night for Blake came in the 55′ when he made two close in saves in a row – though the second appeared to be off side – to keep the DC United off the board.
In the 65′ D.C.’s Kofi Opare ended his terrible evening. receiving his second yellow card of the night for a hard foul on Chris Pontius, and was sent off. This pretty much just made it easier for the Union to play defense, as except for a few semi-chances, they were mostly pretty well satisfied to just keep the ball in play rather than increasing their lead.
Both teams used all three subs. 57′ was the first for DC United – Alvaro Saborio came on for Kamara to try to give a boost to the DC offense. Their second was in 64′ Luciano Acosta for Deleon. In the 68′ @PhilaUnion made their 1st Sub Sebastien Le Toux for Ilsinho, and DC made their final sub, Bobby Boswell in for Naegle. The U made their last subs in the 71′ the Union sent Warren Creavalle on for Alberg and in the 79′ minute as Fabian Herbers came on for Sapong. It was a bit of a surprise to see both Le Toux fresh off his concussion protocols, and Herbers off an injury rest.
The 84′ minute did see the Union D get a bit lax, as second half sub, Acosta, was able to get off a shot that Blake had to push over the bar. The U also had a few chances late, but none really dangerous.
In the end, after 3′ of stoppage time and the fireworks burst over Talen Energy Stadium, 18,4563 Union fans celebrated the 3-0 victory over DC United, as Andre Blake also celebrated his being named an MLS All Star by earning his fourth Clean Sheet of the season.
Some Excerpts from Andre Blake and Jim Curtin Post Game:
Blake: All star game definitely an important achievement for me and the team.
Blake: Getting the shut out was important as was the win OK with a win w/o shut out, but shutout was great.
Curtin :Team performance. Good they picked tonight to have a good game.
Curtin : Can’t stress enough how big this building is. (and further on home field advantage) Will take 10 -1 -2 any day of the week
Curtin : Hard training 2 sessions a day… Team is getting better..not making many mistakes right now.
Curtin : PK’s up to players.