HIGHLIGHTS: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union | May 23, 2021
While things didn't go to plan at the outset for D.C. United — with Edison Flores getting injured within the first 30 seconds of the match, giving way to Julian Gressel — the hosts stayed on the front foot throughout the first half, getting the most dangerous chances despite fairly even possession.
Adrien Pérez looked particularly lively in the Union's half of the field, and Drew Skundrich very nearly got on the end of a cross that could have resulted in his first career MLS goal. That would be the most promising moment of the half for either side, until Jamiro Monteiro had a 43rd-minute chance in front of goal that United 'keeper Jon Kempin was only too happy to scoop up, given the off-balance shot could have gone anywhere.
Then in first-half stoppage time, Monteiro sprung Przybylko forward with a well-weighted pass that beat the DCU defense, and Przybylko poked it home for the opening goal. While it was initially ruled offside, Video Review showed that the duo timed the play to perfection, and the Union went into the locker room a little later than everyone expected with the lead.
Ola Kamara came on as a halftime sub and set up a potential equalizer in the 48th minute, though a sliding Jakob Glesnes broke up a good-looking connection to Paul Arriola. Another second-half DC sub, Kevin Paredes, tested Andre Blake with a shot from distance shortly after coming on — in the 63rd minute — but Blake leaped to tip the ball away.
Though D.C. kept coming, and kept engineering scoring chances, be they from corners or from open play, they couldn't get on target or Blake was there to foil them. By the end, the hosts had decidedly outshot the visitors, but couldn't find the elusive equalizer.
- 45' + 1' — PHI — Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Philadelphia improve to 3-2-2 on the season with the win, locking down one of the gutty-not-pretty wins that become part of a playoff team’s win column. For D.C., it’s a worrying loss given the great amount of chances they were able to produce but not finish on, and it could have potentially cost them Flores for a stretch.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though the goal was what the match pivoted on, there was the moment before — Monteiro’s sumptuous assist — and the moment after when the ref decided to review the offside call after all.
VIDEO REVIEW: Goal Incident - 46th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Monteiro provided the pass that made the goal, and was tireless at both ends until one collision too many knocked him out. Glesnes also deserves a shout for his strong defensive shift, neutralizing several of DC's best chances.