When D.C. United’s (3-5-2) game fails, they fail big. In a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union (2-4-4), D.C. United’s bird crashed and burned. D.C. United has not lost to the Philadelphia Union at RFK since 2013.
In the first period the Union seemed to have trouble getting the ball past D.C. United’s midfield, unless they lobbed the ball from one back third to the other. Dribbling down the sides or up the middle consistently resulted in turning the ball over to the United. Unfortunately, it also seemed to work the opposite way. The midfields of both teams were well matched.
The first referee of the game was very generous with yellow cards, calling three of them in the first 19 minutes of the match. All three were calls for unsporting behavior, two against Philadelphia’s Fabinho and Bedoya, and one for D.C. United’s Neagle. In addition to the cards, the crowd protested loudly against fouls called that awarded free kicks to the Union. The RFK regulars have always channeled their emotions vocally, but this was above the usual level of noisy disagreement.
In the 39th minute, Haris Medunjanin nailed a shot past Union keeper Bill Hamid. The first goal of the game was the only goal of the half. At the halfway mark, D.C. United was trailing 1-0.
The second half started with renewed and aggressive energy from both sides. In the 55th minute, D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta was called for a serious foul. United’s Birnbaum, Mullins, and Sam came to argue with the call with the first referee. The crowd rose to their feet, voicing their opinion as well while the foulee, Philadelphia’s Ilsinho lay on the ground curled up in semi-fetal position. When the arguments were over, the referee was not swayed and Acosta was escorted off the field to the locker room. Ilsinho stood up and walked away as the referee tucked the red card back into his right rear pocket.
With 10 D.C. United players left on the field, the remaining 35 minutes of the match was tough to watch. They held on for a bit and even created a few opportunities for themselves, keeping the Union’s keeper Andre Blake on his toes.
Cracks in the United’s midfield and defense became open wounds for the Union to exploit with only 10 players on the field. When the Union scored the second goal in the 64th minute, it stung. At the 78th minute, the third goal was burning D.C. United. The final blow in the 88th minute was Philadelphia Union’s fourth goal.
The fans of D.C. United have something to be very proud of from this game. D.C. United never gave up. They fought until the final whistle. The loss puts D.C. United in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, ahead of Montreal and Philadelphia. D.C. United’s next home game will be May 20th at 4 p.m. in RFK Stadium.
It was not a good day for either of D.C.’s professional soccer teams, as over in the National Women’s Soccer League the Washington Spirit fell to the Seattle Reign 6-2. In other news, the Spirit announced they had acquired teenage phenom Mallory Pugh, the youngest Olympic player to score a goal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Pugh gave up her college path and turned professional. She is reportedly starting workouts with the team on Tuesday and may get playing time in the Spirit’s next home game on May 20th. That game will be played at 7 p.m. on Maureen Hendricks Field at the Soccerplex in Boyds. If you are thinking about attending that game, buy tickets early. Don’t be surprised if this match sells out.
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