Former D.C. United coach Peter Nowak’s return to RFK was not a good one as his visiting Philadelphia Union fell 2-0 thanks to a brace from United’s striker Danny Allsopp. The Aussie scored on either side of halftime as the Black-and-Red fought their way to a hard earned and long overdue win. United ended a five-game losing streak with the win and for the second time this season it was an Allsopp double that did it. Allsopp scored twice against the Kansas City Wizards in their 2-1 win on May 5th that ended a season starting five-game losing streak to start the MLS season.
United gained a rare lead in the 22nd minute when Philadelphia Union and former University of Maryland defender Danny Califf botched a simple clearance when he fell just as the ball from Andy Najar was entering the heart of the penalty area. Allsopp pounced on the loose ball and easily beat another former Terp, goalkeeper Chris Seitz to his right for the 1-0 lead. Through 21 MLS matches, this was only the third time United had scored first in the game. Coincidentally, United has won all 3 matches in which the scored first (the aforementioned May 5th win over Kansas City, United’s last win 3-2 in Seattle and today). United seemed relieved at the prospect of holding a first half lead and immediately fell back to the dismay of interim coach Ben Olsen, “I didn’t like that. We got the goal and then just forgot what got us the lead to begin with.”
Both United and Philadelphia had to endure a massive thunderstorm that erupted late in the first half and made conditions very difficult. Both teams hung on through the remainder of the half with United clinging to a 1-0 lead. After the intermission the rain moved out of the area and United really got down to some good soccer. Santino Quaranta had a narrow miss of the far post with a curling shot in the 56th that almost gave the home side a rare two goal lead. United did not hang their heads and finally rewarded themselves with perhaps their best team goal of the season in the 63rd minute. With the visiting Union pouring players forward, a United clearance sprung Andy Najar down the right flank. The 17-year old was no match for Union left back Jordan Harvey as he blew by him and sent a ball right across the top of the penalty area. United forward Pablo Hernandez suckered Union defender Michael Orozco into covering him by letting the ball dummy through his legs to a wide open Allsopp on the opposite side. The Aussie took one touch towards goal and unleashed a left-footed blast past Seitz for the 2-0 lead and essentially put the nail in the coffin in this match.
Jaime Moreno made his first appearance at RFK since his announcement of not coming back to play for United two weeks ago and nearly brought the 12, 165 fans to their feet with some vintage Jaime stuff. Moreno got hold of a loose ball at the top of the D in stoppage time and his one-team smooth chip beat Seitz to the far corner but the shot went tantalizingly wide left. That goal would have been justice for the long-serving Bolivian who seems now to have a part-time role for his remaining days with United.
With the win, United moves withing 2 points of the Union in the standings but still are long long way from playoff contention. Essentially any losses from this point forward would sound the death knell for United, if it hasn’t been sounded already. United now moves on to take on the Chivas USA next Sunday evening in Los Angeles. This match will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 10:00 pm EST
– Chris Pontius was held out of the 18-man squad due to a slight hamstring injury. Olsen said after the match that is was purely precautionary
– Junior, the brother of former United player Fred who’s been on an extended trial with United, was seen before the match sporting a pretty noticeable limp. No comment was given by the staff or the front office on his potential signing
– Clyde Simms returned to the lineup for the first time in three weeks. Stephen King made way for him but was the first sub off the bench for United