Kacper Przybylko pushed the Philadelphia Union ahead early on a devastating quick counterattack and assisted on two more goals before halftime in a crucial 3-1 victory over a struggling D.C. United side at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday night.
Brenden Aaronson and Ilsinho each added a goal before the break for the Union, who stayed even on points with Atlanta United in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta, who currently hold the first tiebreak of total wins, visit Philadelphia next Saturday night.
In his first start in four matches, Luciano Acosta scored in the second half for D.C. for his first goal or assist since June 1, a stretch of nine fallow appearances.
With Wayne Rooney serving a red-card suspension, D.C. fell to their third consecutive defeat while missing the chance to climb back above the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings. They've won only three of their last 17 MLS games.
- 5' - PHI - Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- 16' - PHI - Brenden Aaronson | WATCH
- 36' - PHI - Ilsinho | WATCH
- 56' - DC - Luciano Acosta | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: D.C.'s extended struggles are beginning to approach the territory of 2017 FC Dallas, who crashed agonizingly short of the postseason after winning only two of their last 15 matches. United are still five points above the playoff line at the moment, although another loss at the Montreal Impact next weekend would see that gap narrow to 2 points. Rooney could be out for that one as well, according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff.
Wayne Rooney is not here (red-card suspension). Awaiting official word from MLS disciplinary committee but seems almost certain he will receive an additional game and miss next weekend's trip to Montreal.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 24, 2019
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ilsinho effectively put the game out of reach nine minutes before the break with the kind of slick finishing we've come to expect of the Brazilian. But the moment also personified just how poor D.C. were defensively during a half in which they were outshot 8-0.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Kacper Przybylko. The Polish-German striker notched a goal and two assists, and was a major problem for D.C. throughout the match. On this night anyway, the combination of his stature and technical prowess gave hints of another European MLS import who now plays in Southern California.
- PHI: Saturday, August 31 vs. Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and DAZN in Canada)
- DC: Saturday, August 31 at Montreal Impact (7:30 pm ET | TVAS, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US)