Chester, Pennsylvania, May 17, 2015 – Even before Philadelphia Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer’s 93rd minute game-winning goal, D.C. United were playing a dangerous game all night long and they were made to pay dearly in their 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union tonight at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
United were in a defensive posture from the very first minute and their calculated gamble blew up in their faces as they allowed the Union to capture only their second win of the season. Despite the loss that snapped an 8-game unbeaten run, United remains atop the Eastern Conference over the New England Revolution whom they face this upcoming Saturday night in Foxborough, Massachussetts.
Head coach Ben Olsen gave season debuts to midfielders Markus Halsti and rookie Miguel Aguilar among the five changes he made after Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Orlando SC. Playing three games in eight days necessitated the changes but Olsen will be the first to tell you that the teams effort this evening was well below acceptable. The match very much took on the tone of a few of United’s games from earlier this season when they managed to drag out a result. This one however fell the other way and United were complicit in their own undoing.
United offered very little offensively not even registering a shot on goal through the entire match. The closest they came to scoring is when Aguilar took on three Union defenders and his left-footed blast rang off the far post and out of danger. That was basically it for the night for United but the home side certainly put in a much more determined effort and were rewarded in the 93rd minute when Zach Pfeffer’s left-footed blast beat Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare and Bill Hamid. United were forced down to ten men for all of stoppage time as it seemed that Luis Silva re-aggravated his hamstring injury that kept him out for the first 5 matches of the season.
In a game that is not going to the MLS league vault anytime soon for dexterity, it was the home side that got things started. Philadelphia had a goal called back in the 17th minute when Conor Casey was judged to have brought down a Sebastian Le Toux cross with his hand before burying the shot underneath Hamid. Hamid was easily the busier of the two goalkeepers as MLS pool goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre had very little to do on the evening. Philadelphia came into the match on a four-game losing streak and only winning 1 of their first 11 matches.
Needless to say, this was a very bad result for a team that was just starting to make believers out of everyone that they were Supporters Shield contenders. While this loss doesn’t change anything as United still are atop MLS at the moment, it’s a bit discouraging to put forth such a tame effort against a side that was clearly struggling and desperate. This match should have been handled comfortably by United but their lack of urgency moving forward cost them in the end.
Up next for the Black-and-Red is a visit to New England. The Revs trail United by two points in the standings and can overtake United with a win on the plastic turf at Gillete Stadium. This match will be televised on CSNWashington at 7pm