D.C. United lost 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union, enduring a third defeat in the past eight days. The Union wasted no time in gaining the lead, scoring within the first five minutes: United simply could not recover, allowing Kacper Przybylko to thrive and play a vital role in the Union’s two following goals. The Black-and-Red managed to pull one back through Lucho Acosta’s efforts, but at that point it was too late in the match.
D.C. United kicked off the match with a familiar subordinate attitude, allowing the Philadelphia Union to immediately exert their dominance. The Union’s tactics proved successful quickly: In the 5th minute, Kai Wagner provided Kacper Przybylko with a strategic low cross near the left post that allowed the number 23 to tap the ball into the net for the early lead.
United used the first goal as a wake up call. The Black-and-Red began to retaliate with energy and desperation, but their efforts were swiftly halted by another Union goal.
In the 16th minute, Przybylko escaped Bill Hamid and United’s backline to set up Brendan Aaronson at the top of the 18th, enabling the young player to fire the ball and double the score.
The Union’s aptitude and focus seemed to increase with each goal, while United’s ability to recover gradually dwindled. As time progressed, the situation worsened for the visiting side.
In the 35th minute, Przybylko completed a quick pass to Ilsinho, who dribbled past Moreno, Mora and Brilliant inside the box before striking the ball past Hamid and into the goal.
Seconds after his goal, Ilsinho reached United’s box again to threaten the opponent with another opportunity. Just as United appeared to be mentality checked out, Ola Kamara reached Andre Blake with his first chance of the night to end the first 45 on a slight energy high.
After halftime, the Black-and-Red returned to the pitch with a newfound confidence. United appeared to be unfazed by the score, and focused instead on strengthening their offensive efforts. Then, 15 minutes into the half, the visiting side’s new mentality became reflected in the score. After reaching the Union’s box, Luciano Acosta confused defenders by dribbling his way inches from the post to sneak the ball past Blake and make the score 3-1.
The goal reignited United’s thirst for the win.
In the 64th minute, Quincy Amarikwa, who replaced Ola Kamara, threatened Blake with his first shot of the night by forcing the Union goalkeeper to reach for the crucial save. The last 20 minutes saw United continued to grow competitively with a few close calls by Amarikwa and Emmanuel Boateng, but at that point, it was too late.
United continue to struggle in kicking off the match in a competitive way. Like in the past, tonight United grew in their offensive efforts late in the game after conceding three game determining goals.
This 3-1 loss continues to damage United’s play-off chances, as they fall to fifth place with 36 points in 29 games played.