Philadelphia Union vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview

PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
May 10, 2014 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #85)
4 p.m. ET (CSN-Phi; CSN-MA)

A pair of clubs aiming to make a charge up the Eastern Conference table meet when Philadelphia Union take on D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are looking to snap an eight-game winless streak, following their 2-1 loss at Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. United saw their five-game undefeated run come to an end on the road as the Portland Timbers hit for a last-gasp winner in a 3-2 triumph last weekend.


REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. AR1 (bench): Greg Barkey; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 4; pens: 11


ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Union 4 wins, 15 goals … United 3 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
AT PHILADELPHIA (5 meetings): Union 3 wins, 8 goals … United 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 9/27: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, 3 p.m. ET

4/21: DC 2, PHI 3 (Kitchen 17; Pajoy 47 – McInerney 7, 26; Casey 11)
8/10: PHI 2, DC 0 (Casey 35, 75)
10/12: DC 1, PHI 1 (DeLeon 36 – McInerney 90)

  • The teams met three times a season ago, Union taking victories in the first two encounters before a draw in the third. They were Union’s first wins in the all-time series since 2011.
  • The teams have also met each of the last three seasons in the U.S. Open Cup, United winning 3-1 last season in a fourth-round matchup.
  • Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. DC: P6 W2 L2 T2 … Ben Olsen vs. PHI: P9 W3 L3 T3

Philadelphia Union had their winless streak extended to eight games, following a 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Union are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with eight points from 10 games.


  • Union took the lead after 14 minutes. Cristian Maidana sent in a free kick from about 40 yards out that hit off the head of Brad Evans as he was trying to defend and looped into the goal.
  • Sounders FC had a glorious opportunity to pull level in the 39th minute when Sheanon Williams was whistled for a handball in the penalty area. Osvaldo Alonso stepped to the spot and sent a shot toward the right side, but Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath guessed correctly and pushed the attempt off the post.
  • Sounders FC finally equalized in the 61st minute when Obafemi Martins was able to beat MacMath to a ball in the box from an Evans’ header and prod it home from close range.
  • The winner came 23 minutes later. Marco Pappa sent a corner kick into the box from the right where Chad Marshall rose above the defense to powerfully head home and extend the Seattle winning run.
  • Union manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. Sebastien Le Toux and Cristian Maidana came in on the flanks, in place of Danny Cruz and Fabinho.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams (Antoine Hoppenot 87), Aaron Wheeler, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu - Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana (Leo Fernandes 76) - Andrew Wenger (Conor Casey 81).


  • The Union winless streak stretched to eight games, matching the club record, set July 29-Sept. 10, 2011 and Aug. 4-Sept. 20, 2012.
  • “We have a lot of guys playing good,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “We just continue to make mistakes at critical moments. … It’s a difficult one to take because I thought we came and we played well in the first half and we got up a goal. Even in the second half, we had some chances to get the second [goal] and we didn’t put those away.”
  • Union put an end to their goalless drought at 203 minutes ñ matching the seventh-longest such streak in MLS this season.
  • “I thought we could have got the win tonight but we got another loss. Disappointment was the feeling right after the game, it's just very frustrating,” Sebastien Le Toux said. “I thought we played well but a mistake here and there cost us the game. There's a little bit of frustration and disappointment, but we have to move forward.”
  • But they still have not seen one of their players score a goal since Le Toux converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute of the 2-1 loss to New York on April 16. The last Union goal from open play came April 12 vs. Real Salt Lake, from Cristian Maidana.
  • “We just have to keep plugging away and hopefully we can get some luck on our side.  I feel like the defense has a good game and the offense struggles or the offense has good game and the defense struggles,” said defender Amobi Okugo. “We just have to have a complete performance from both sides and hopefully we can get a win.”
  • Goalkeeper Zac MacMath stopped his third penalty kick of the season in denying the Osvaldo Alonso effort in the first half. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the MLS record is four penalty kick saves in one season, set by D.J. Countess of the Dallas Burn in 2003.
  • After not featuring at all in the Montreal game, and coming off the substitutes’ bench the week before, Le Toux returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the April 16 game.

D.C. United had their undefeated run put to a stop after five matches, the Portland Timbers hitting for a late goal for a 3-2 victory Saturday evening at Providence Park. United are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from eight games.


  • The Timbers took the lead after just 34 seconds. Darlington Nagbe found Diego Valeri on the right flank, and he one-timed a perfectly placed cross to Gaston Fernandez. He then chipped it into the air and rounded D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid, before chipping it over the line with his back to goal.
  • United were level in stunning fashion in the 33rd minute when Davy Arnaud teed up a shot from well out on the right which took an initial deflection of Diego Chara before sailing into the top right corner.
  • The Timbers were back in front just five minutes when a Valeri corner found Mamadou Danso in front of goal, and he coolly one-timed his effort past Hamid.
  • Danso was again involved as United drew level from a 77th-minute corner kick, Cristian Hernandez trying to reach a header that Danso instead nodded inside the left post.
  • But the Timbers once again responded, hitting for the winner five minutes into stoppage time when substitute Maximiliano Urruti slammed home his own rebound from a Valeri cross from the right flank.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made two changes to the team that rolled to a 4-1 win against FC Dallas at RFK Stadium. Chris Korb came in at right back for Sean Franklin, and Conor Doyle started up top in place of Eddie Johnson.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Perry Kitchen - Nick DeLeon (Alex Caskey 76), Davy Arnaud (Luis Silva 71), Chris Rolfe – Conor Doyle (Lewis Neal 66), Fabian Espindola.


  • United saw their undefeated run come to a conclusion after five matches, the club’s longest such streak since going seven games without loss to close out the 2012 season.
  • "There was a lot of good in regards to this group. A lot of good,” said United head coach Ben Olsen. "Today, starting the game wasn’t good enough, set pieces weren’t good enough for us, and the way we managed the game, once again, in the end was amateur.”
  • "We take a game where we definitely should get a point, if not three, and turn it into a loss. Again, there’s a lot of character and a lot of positives with our group, but we cannot go on the road and have these cardinal sins.”
  • For the third time this season, United conceded a goal in the final 10 minutes of the match to drop points, having allowed late equalizers in the 2-2 draw with Chicago on March 29 and the 1-1 draw at Columbus on April 19.
  • "We’re going over all of it,” Bobby Boswell said. “We’re watching video, we’re watching plays from before. We’re going too much I think, trying to get another goal or win the game off when sometimes we need to just not be heroes and kill the game off. We’re still pushing a bit too much sometimes – that’s the thing.”
  • Making his fifth consecutive start, Davy Arnaud scored his second goal in the last four matches.
  • “We felt like our chances were going to come if we stayed solid defensively. We felt like we were going to get chances,” Arnaud said. “We did well to get the goal. Like I said, I think the performance wasn’t a bad one. If we don’t concede there at the end, I think we’re pretty happy with the performance and the result. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”
  • After coming off the substitutes” bench in each of the first seven matches, Conor Doyle made his first start of the season, partnering Fabian Espindola in attack.
  • Eddie Johnson did not feature for the first time this season, after a hamstring injury forced him from the field early in the second half of the FC Dallas match.
  • Chris Korb made his first start of the season at right back, coming in for the injured Sean Franklin. It was the first change in the United back four for the entire season.
  • “We’re unhappy with the way we started and to go down a goal and then to come back and then two goals and then come back. We thought we played well enough to earn a point. We”re not able to see the game out,” said Boswell. “Credit to them for continuing to push. We have to learn from what we did and make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s what good teams do. They learn from their mistakes.”

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.