With the win, Philadelphia move to 4-0-2 on the season at Talen Energy Stadium. The Union have now kept three clean sheets and only conceded four goals total in their six home matches.
When the starting eleven was announced before the game, there was one glaring omission from the Union midfield: Vincent Nogueira. Nogueira was a late scratch from the game with an oblique strain and was replaced by Warren Creavalle. To add to the injury list for Philadelphia, midfielder Ilsinho was also unable to make the 18 with his injuries.
First half produces little quality from both sides
For both Philadelphia and D.C., the first half was forgettable. Over the course of the first 45 minutes, both teams only managed two combined shots on goal. One of the main contributors to such a stat line was the Philadelphia backline.
The Union backline, anchored by two Georgetown University rookies, Keegan Rosenberry and Joshua Yaro, played one of their best games of the season. All four defenders made sure to clean up any messes in the defensive third and keep D.C.’s chances limited on the night. Fabinho continued his impressive season at left back for Philadelphia by contributing four interceptions alone in the first half. Rosenberry and Yaro both contributed two and three interceptions as well respectively.
Second Half provides much more excitement between Philadelphia Union and D.C. United
Not even 10 minutes into the second half, Philadelphia nearly opened the scoring when Sebastien Le Toux received a parried Fabinho shot at his feet. Le Toux, wide open and only 12 yards out from an open goal, decided to take two awkward touches on the ball, which gave a United defender enough to time to block his ensuing shot.
D.C.’s best shot of the game came in the 63rd minute off a corner kick when Alvaro Saborio’s close-range bicycle kick was deflected away from the net by an excellent reaction save by Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
One of the more interesting moments of the game occurred in the 61st minute when United’s Luciano Acosta was substituted off for Julian Buescher. Acosta came off the field in a furious mood as he refused to shake his substitute’s as well as his coach’s hands. Acosta went even further as he wagged his finger in Olsen’s face while walking towards the bench.
Despite a few decent opportunities through the second half, Philadelphia would leave it very late into stoppage time to find their go-ahead goal, which came from an unlikely source. In the first minute of second half stoppage time, Le Toux would receive the ball off a restart and cross it towards the box. The ball skipped over CJ Sapong’s head and towards the back post, where Richie Marquez was posted up to put the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. It was Marquez first Major League Soccer goal in his career.
Not soon after Marquez scored, referee Jaime Herrera blew his whistle for full time with the Union taking all three points in an ugly, hard-fought win.
Where do both teams stand now in the MLS Eastern Conference and for the week ahead?
With the win, Philadelphia now sits on 18 points through 11 games, which is good for the outright first place lead in the Eastern Conference over New York City FC by one point. The Union also have a game in hand on NYCFC and are far ahead based on Points per Game. The Blue and Gold have another long week ahead as they go on the road next Wednesday against Orlando City and then, on Saturday, against Colorado Rapids.
D.C. now head into the weekend with 13 points through 12 games. Based on Points per Game and total points, United are tied with New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution for fifth place. D.C. will look to right the ship next Friday when they travel to Sporting Kansas City.