Well it was fun while it lasted. For 89 minutes on Saturday night, D.C. United managed to outplay the visiting Philadelphia Union and hold a 1-0 lead even as the DOOP-crew subbed off defenders for attackers and threw numbers forward with abandon. But the Black-and-Red couldn't find a follow-up to Nick DeLeon's 36th minute long-range blast, and, thanks to a Jack McInerney header in the dying moments of regular time, they were forced to settle for a draw. Though it's a draw that the playoff-chasing Union will certainly regret more than United.
The home side started things out brightly, controlling possession and creating the occasional chance on Zach MacMath's goal without opening themselves to the counterattack that has plagued them all season. Eventually, the pressure forced Philadelphia's defense to sit back far enough that Nick DeLeon found himself in acres of space 30 yards from goal. His blast beat the Union 'keeper to the upper 90, giving United a deserved lead.
The Union nearly responded right away, as Conor Casey forced two saves, one of them top shelf, from Bill Hamid just a minute after DeLeon's strike. United responded to the threat, though, with an attack of their own, Conor Doyle's shot beating MacMath but not the post before the Union managed to clear. Ultimately, D.c. were unlucky not to go into the half up by more than one goal.
The second half saw Philly coach John Hackworth push his side into a more attacking posture, and they fared better as a result. United looked to counter and had a goal disallowed for an iffy offside call midway through the half. Eventually, the visotors put enough pressure on Bill Hamid's to find a way through, thanks in no small part to a needless foul at the edge of the penalty area by United sub Sainey Nyassi. D.C. managed to clear Kleberson's initial free kick, but when the Union cycled the ball quickly back to Kleberson, his second bite at the apple found Jack McInerney's late, unmarked run at the back post, and the striker made no mistake, putting his downward header past Hamid from inside of 10 yards.
Even though the late equalizer will make this draw feel like a loss for United, it's surely the Union locker room who is more disappointed on the night. Not only were they outplayed by a last place team, but they lost crucial points in their chase for the MLS Cup playoffs. The draw, meanwhile, sews up the Wooden Spoon for United - and the first overall SuperDraft pick that comes with it.
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