On a seasonal April evening – 56 degrees NNW winds – in our Nation’s Capital, the Philadelphia Union (0-1-2, 2 Pts 10th Place Eastern Conference) face off with DC United (0-2-1, 1 Pt, 11th Place).
The Union seemed to think they were in the tropics, as except for some spurts of good play, most of the 2-1 loss to DC United, they seemed listless and sloppy, as well as in a very giving mood.
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
GK 18 Andre Blake, D 12 Keegan Rosenberry, D 5 Oguchi Onyewu, D 16 Richie Marquez, D 33 Fabinho, MF 21 Derrick Jones, MF 6 Haris Medunjanin, MF 25 Ilsinho, MF 11 Alejandro Bedoya, MF 13 Chris Pontius, F 27 Jay Simpson
DC United Starting XI: 4-3-3
GK 28 Bill Hamid, D 2 Taylor Kemp, D 14 Nick DeLeon, D 15 Steve Birnbaum, D 32 Bobby Boswell, MF 7 Marcelo Sarvas, MF 10 Luciano Acosta, MF 23 Ian Harkes, F 8 Lloyd Sam, F 9 José Guillermo Ortiz, F 12 Patrick Nyarko
Three interesting notes on the U’s starting lineup and their relationship to DC, the team or the city.
This will be the second game at RFK for Pontius since being traded to the Union. Last year he scored a goal there in a 2-2 draw on 8/6/16.
Another player who likes to score against United is Ilsinho, whose two MLS goals have come against them. He is getting his first start of the season tonight.
Onyewu, making his first ever MLS start, was born in Washington.
The U had the better run of play in the first 10′ of the game, but after that it was almost all DC attacking. Their persistent pressure, led to a bad feed by Blake, which led to an even worse header by Fabinho, right to DC’s Sam. One touch later Ortiz scored United’s first goal of the season in the 18′.
Not long after, again following a bad clear, Marquez’s arm got in the way of a through ball by Ortiz, earning DC a PK. Luciano Acosta scored on it to make it 2-Nil DC in the 27′.
Except for the first 10′ and the last 10′, a badly played first half by the Union, ended 2-0 DC United.
Both teams used all three subs in the second half, but it was the U’s second sub in the 59′ bringing F 17 CJ Sapong on for Simpson, that almost made Head Coach Jim Curtin look like a genius. Sapong was the one to get finally get the U on the board in the 71′ when he picked up the garbage left by a Hamid rebound, on a blast from Bedoya’s left foot. He had a few other good chances as well, but to no avail.
DC GK Hamid made some stellar saves down the stretch as the Union seemed to find some momentum, but too little too late, as they just could not net the equalizer.
Sub and Card Recap:
The U began the substitutions at the start of the 2nd half as D 3 Jack Elliott came on for Marquez. The Union announced that Marquez was being evaluated for a concussion. He took a knee from Blake in first half. They would also eventually bring MF 14 Fabian Herbers on for an increasingly chippy Ilsinho in the 76′. Ilsinho got an Oscar – er – Yellow card for embellishing, in an effort to get a PK in the box in the 58′
DC subs were as follows:
MF 13 Lamar Neagle for Ortiz 70′
D 5 Sean Franklin for Sam 80′
D 25 Jared Jeffrey for Acosta 89′
The Union’s Jones got their other Yellow in the 62′ – “Dissent” for jawing at the ref.
DC had only one infraction given to Marcelo Sarvas for Unsporting Behavior in the 66′.
Streaks Kept and Lost:
The bad outweighs the good in this area
Good: Sapong got his 3rd goal in 3 games.
Bad: The Union are still winless on the season after 4 games.
This is the first game Blake has lost to D.C. in four career matches, including two shout-outs and one tie.
The Union play only their 2nd home game of the season on Saturday April 8, 7:00 PM. It will be a real challenge for Curtin and his crew to get this team on the right track as the Western Conference leading Portland Timbers (3-1-0) come to town. I will be up in the press box for that one for Pattisonave.com