Union match reports

Match report: Union 2-0 DC United

The Union coasted to an efficient 2-0 win over an undermanned DC United on the back of two Conor Casey goals Saturday night at PPL Park.

Casey tallied on either side of halftime with Fabinho and Sheanon Williams providing service from the wings for each goal. The victory moved Philadelphia back into third place, six points clear of sixth place with 10 games left to play.

“It was a must-win,” Casey said after the game.

DC coach Ben Olsen rolled out an inexperienced side for the team’s third game in eight days. Chris Pontius, Luis Silva and Nick DeLeon were all left behind in the nation’s capital while Dwayne De Rosario started the match on the bench.

First half

John Hackworth made two changes to the side that fell to Chicago last Saturday. Fabinho replaced the injured Ray Gaddis at left, and Keon Daniel replaced Michael Farfan in central midfield, returning after serving a one game suspension.

DC started the game brightly, passing the ball around the midfield comfortably but without very much penetration into the Union’s final third.

But it would be Philadelphia with the first real chance of the match through Jack McInerney. In the 6th minute, Sheanon Williams pushed forward from right back to drive a low ball into the DC United box. McInerney latched on to it as it bounced to him at the far post and hit a half volley first time. But United keeper Bill Hamid was up to the task and able to tip the fierce drive over the bar.

Some good combination play in the 17th minute saw Sebastien Le Toux cut through the midfield and play a smart ball in behind for McInerney to run onto. But the young striker looked to return the ball to Le Toux instead of taking the shot on himself. Le Toux had held up his run though, and DC was able to clear. While McInerney had every right to be upset with Le Toux’s let-up, the McInerney of April and May would have probably taken the shot first time.

The next 15 minutes of the game saw few chances for either side as the Union failed to possess the ball through the midfield and DC continued to lack the personnel to break down the Union’s defense.

Conor Casey would have a shout for a penalty in the 30th minute, but referee Hilario Grajeda was unmoved after the big striker went down in the box under light contact.

Casey would get his goal just five minutes later. Again Williams was afforded time and space to cross from the right, this time picking out the head of Sebastien Le Toux on a run toward the near post. Le Toux was able to cushion his header into the path of Casey six yards from the DC goal. The big man did well to dig the ball out from in between his feet and poke past an onrushing Hamid.

In the 38th minute, it would be Casey again knocking on the door after he was able to greet a Le Toux corner at the near post and flick it goalward. Hamid was up to the task, though, and got down low to push the shot away.

It wouldn’t be until first half stoppage time that DC would even register a shot, a 30-yard effort from midfielder Kyle Porter than almost cleared the River End.

Second half

DC brought on Dwayne De Rosario at the start of the second half to search for an equalizer. The midfielder did provide a spark, and United had the Union on the back foot early in the second half.

A neat interchange on 50 minutes saw striker Conor Doyle get free and drive a shot that was deflected just wide of Zac MacMath’s near post. It was Doyle again getting in a good position five minutes later, though his shot from 18 yards was right at MacMath.

In the 57th minute, a sterling McInerney pass found Danny Cruz streaking down the right side behind the DC backline. The winger’s first touch took him a bit wide of Hamid’s goal and his left footed shot skipped just wide of the far post.

DC would come right back in the 58th minute. A good run by De Rosario saw the ball fall to midfielder Collin Martin inside the Union box. Though Martin’s shot beat Zac MacMath, Williams was able to recover and head the goal-bound ball away.

Casey would seal the points for the Union in the 75th minute with his second tally of the match. Keon Daniel headed a loose ball to Sebastien Le Toux, who then headed on to Casey’s feet. Taking the return ball, Le Toux  pushed to his left and delivered a good pass to an overlapping Fabinho on the left wing while Casey made an angled run toward goal. The left back floated an inviting ball to the back post to Casey, who went for placement over power and struck his volley to the left of a helpless Bill Hamid.

The second goal seemed to sap the belief from DC and they were unable to create another clear cut scoring chance for the remainder of the game.

Brian Carroll and substitute Aaron Wheeler would both have chances to add gloss the score line in stoppage time, but Wheeler’s free header went wide and Hamid saved well on Carroll’s shot from 8 yards.

A sell out crowd of 18,652 gave Casey a standing ovation when he was subbed off with five minutes to play. Sebastien Le Toux was credited with a primary assist on the Union’s first goal and a secondary assist on the second goal to bring his league leading assist total to 12.

“(Casey) scores two goals, fantastic,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “But what he did early in that game changed a little bit of it by dropping deep in the midfield and giving us the ability to play into him and off of him, it changed things for us.

Michael Lahoud made his first league appearance since late April, coming on in stoppage time to kill the clock.

With the win, the Union will have a chance to to go top of the East next Saturday when they travel up I-95 in search of their first-ever win at Red Bull Arena.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 69′), Keon Daniel, Sebastien Le Toux (Michael Lahoud 90+2), Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 85′), Jack McInerney
Unused substitutes: Chris Konopka, Kleberson, Matt Kassel, Antoine Hoppenot

DC United
Bill Hamid, Ethan White, Conor Shanosky, Chris Korb, James Riley, Collin Martin (Michael Seaton 76′), Perry Kitchen, Taylor Kemp, Jared Jeffrey, Kyle Porter (Dwayne De Rosario 45′), Conor Doyle
Unused substitutes: Daniel Woolard, Dejan Jakovic. Joe Willis, John Thorrington

Scoring Summary
PHI – 35′ – Conor Casey (Sebastien Le Toux, Sheanon Williams)
PHI – 75′ – Conor Casey (Fabinho, Sebastien Le Toux)

Disciplinary Summary
PHI – 56′ – Amobi Okugo (Foul)
PHI – 61′ – Sheanon Williams (Foul)
PHI – 62′ – Danny Cruz (Encroachment)
DC – 81′ – James Riley (Foul)

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Attendance: 18652

Philadelphia Union D.C. United
22 Attempts on Goal 8
9 Shots on Target 5
10 Shots off Target 1
3 Blocked Shots 2
6 Corner Kicks 4
12 Fouls 14
29 Open Play Crosses 9
2 Offsides 0
3 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
62 Duels Won 51
54% Duels Won % 45%
421 Total Pass 415
78% Passing Accuracy % 77%
50.6% Possession 49.4%


  1. Keon Daniel had a quietly fantastic game last night. Hopefully he gets a little credit for it. He was really smart with the ball and a key link between the D and O. Much quicker with his decisions in the past. Great to see.

    • much quicker with his decisions THAN in the past. (we need an edit comment function here)

    • Keon and Carroll played an acceptable game, didn’t stand out and didn’t look bad against a midfield that is essentially USL calibre. Without taking anything away from Fabhino and Williams’ good nights, when the two wide backs are providing all of the service forward you have to wonder about the strength of the midfield

      • Hack’s system is to play the ball through the wing backs and not the midfield. It’s been 14 months or so of his tactics. He prefers the wide playmakers with deep sitting central midfielders, than moving the ball through the middle of the pitch

      • I’ve been waiting to tell all of you negative fellows this. We have more points than all of last year with 10 games left to play. We need to view this situation with some degree of relativity. Is Hack the best? No, but have we improved over are shite situation last year, exponentially. Who was going to fix the hole that Nowak put us in quicker. One step at a time boys. That being said Keon gave the ball away far too frequently but Carrol did cover a massive amount of ground. And I do agree that if jack gets one, then the floodgates will open.

      • @SoB. Keon was hands down our best midfielder.
        Check OPTA. 51/54 passing. Also had the best possession differential at 47 points.

      • While Keon may have completed >90% of the passes – they were all simple passes between him and the defense. He was sitting behind Carroll for the majority of the game – which is not what you want. Against a better team, which pretty much every game will be – the wing backs don’t get the space, and we are really struggling if Carroll is the furthest forward of the midfield 2.

      • Well played, SoB.

        re: Keon (and everything, really) — Stats tell a key part of the story, but they rarely tell the whole story.

  2. I think Jack had a decent game all together, some nice passes, but WHY DONT YOU SHOOT. SHOOT THE BALL MAN. His move at the end of the game was begging to be put on a highlight reel but HE DIDNT SHOOT THE BALL.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure what’s going through his head lately. He set up that chance at the end brilliantly and then just hesitated. At this point I don’t care if he blasts shots over the bar, I’d just like to see him be aggressive.

      • I just think it is a confidence thing for him right now. Each game without a goal, the weight on your back gets a little heavier. Soon as one goes in, I think he will be right on track.

      • I agree completely. He won’t score if he doesn’t shoot, so I’d rather just see him sail 5 over the bar to put his 6th on frame then see him fart around with the ball like he did yesterday.

      • I think it’s his hair.
        Is that a strikers hair? No. no it isn’t.
        Conner Doyle was a much more confidant and aggressive striker, and by looking at his hair, how could he not be.
        I say get Jack some proper striker hair (doesn’t have to be Neymar mind you) and I’m sure he’ll be back in form in no time.

      • Connor Doyle’s hair? I know what you mean. I kept thinking he would run, would run so far away…

  3. Keon definitely got better as the match went on and did very well in the 2nd half.

    Casey is just in beast mode right now. Holding up the ball and getting into dangerous spots. Also, he seemed to stay more central than in past matches

    That 2nd goal was a joy to watch. The combination play as well as the coordinated runs were awesome to see. It was nice to get some wide play from a left footed player. Really opens up the field for LeToux to tuck inside.

    Lastly, I thought MacMath played very well. Good win with a clean sheet.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Overall a good game but we also need to realize it was against the worst team in the league who left some of their top players at home, so it really wasn’t much to judge by. It was a game that the Union could have won by more if Hamid hadn’t made some very good saves.

    Unlike Spugger, I was not impressed by Keon. When he had the ball he was better than in the past, but there were also several times that he didn’t seem to be hustling to try and get a free ball.

  5. Fabinho looked good to me. I think he has to play even if Gaddis is healthy.
    The Union did a nice job moving the ball on the ground late. Good to see they *can* do it, even if they don’t always try.
    I agree with James. McInerney should’ve buried that late chance, but tried to get too fancy with it.
    “In the 57th minute, a sterling Jack McInerney pass found Danny Cruz streaking down the right side behind the DC backline. The winger’s first touch took him a bit wide of Hamid’s goal…” Whoa! That’s really surprising! Usually Danny Cruz has such great touch…
    In the opinion of others, should Casey have been rewarded with a penalty kick on that first half play? There definitely seemed to be some grabbing by the DC player, but I also thought he went down too easily.
    Thanks to the Sons of Ben for the Luau. Good fun.
    And finally, thanks to Stephen from AAA for changing my blown tire on I-95 on the way home.

  6. This was a good win and it keeps them in the mix at the top of the conference. It’s not so much about how they beat an outmanned DC team, it’s about how they didn’t meet the challenge of Chicago or how the coach didn’t make smart adjustments in the Chicago game. They should have beaten DC. If they step up to NY(hopefully with Henry and Cahill in the lineup)and Hackworth can make the competent adjustments and substitutions, then I’ll be impressed.

  7. Finally Hackworth makes some smart substitutions. I’ll agree with most of you that Fabinho should be starting, even if Gaddis is healthy; however, the deciding factor will be whether Gaddis’ exceptional one-on-one defending is more important than Fabinho’s service on the left.

    • gaddis gets burned with regularity. hes simply not very good on the left side. keon, i thought, played pretty well last night. but its ridiculous that marfan did not start and he was considerably better than cruz after coming on.

    • Fabinho in at L mid, Le Toux moves over to R, Cruz to the bench.
      There. Fixed it for ya

  8. I’m quick to criticize Hackworth’s in-game management and tactics, but he has done a great job of putting together a decent squad despite having roster limitations.
    Conor Casey may go down as one of the best acquisitions in Union history. He’s been the striker this team has needed since its inception.
    This was a much-needed win, and I’m glad the Union won in convincing fashion.

    • Depending on how Chicago and the Union do in the playoffs, Casey is making a strong argument for the MVP. For me, it’s a race between Magee and Casey to the finish.

    • Trust your first instincts. Hackworth’s roster issues are all his own. Giving away players for cash is not putting quality players on your team. Imagine where this team would be with a few solid MLS players with competent skills to go along with Casey, Le Toux , Mckinerey. We’ll see how his in-game management goes in NY.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Look to next year. The Union freed-up a large chunk of space under the cap with the trades of Garfan and Soumare. If CV stays in Columbia we’re looking at anywhere between 1.1-1.6 mill transfer, if not he comes back on roughly DP salary [or close to it]. Kleberson is gone, freeing up more space. The moves were made this season to acquire the funds necessary for a [hopefully] big signing in the off season. If the Union can continue to play well, maybe even snag a CCL berth, better players will come. Hands down.

      • The Chopper says:

        I think Hackworth has done quite well with the roster. He did not inherit a situation that could be fixed within a year unless he was presented with financial options that the Union just don’t have.

        The additions of LeToux, Casey and Parke have provided three solid starters and results. Fabinho is paying dividends, Wheeler shows promise and Fernandez might have a future. It could be argued that Ola’s arrival,has helped Mac Math. He certainly looks better as of late.

        While Klebberson is off the field, he helped rid the team of next year’s commitment to Adu. So the team is improved and in a better financial position for next year.

        When you are operating within the Union’s budgetary framework and cleaning up !Nowak’s mess, you can’t ask for much more.

      • Jim,

        That’s wishful thinking. They have not spent any money in four years. This ownership group is not going to start doing so next year either.

      • @IL. The ownership doesn’t dive into their own pockets, no. But they do effectively spend the money granted under the cap and allocation. You can use allocation to buy down a DPs salary

  9. kgb134@aol.com says:

    They started out poorely. DC showed that even with a hole in it’s pocket a team can play decent possession soccer. However, it was a young, inexperienced DC team. They tappered off after 35 minutes or so, and the Union took over.
    Nothing spectacular but they got the job done. Don’t think this was a sufficiently convincing win against a team at the bottom of the table with a young and very inexperienced compliment. A win is a win though.
    McInnerney had the ball tangled at his feet the entire night. Cruz was as useless as usual. Casey had a great game along with Fabinho (who needs to work on his defense but his service is very good). Carrol and the centerbacks had a solid 90.
    They won a game they should have. Lets see how they do away from home in NY/NJ.

  10. Cruz – made some space, hustling all not. His flopping, crashing shtick is getting tiresome
    Daniel – agreed with the prior posters on an improved performance
    Parke – He and Carroll must battle for biggest black holes of offense on this team. Parke looks to make poor, slow passes and Carroll’s first thought is backwards.
    Okogu – He’s becoming an elite center back in my opinion
    Fabinho – Yes he offers more going forward. He’s very inconsistent right now; a great pass followed by a shockingly stupid pass; a great win followed by a turnover. If he gets more consistent I would love to see him replace Gaddis. If Parke was faster, I wouldn’t be as worried.
    Casey – did we get him on waivers? Unreal addition. MVP by a wide margin. He’s even good with the ball at his feet.

    • On several occasions I saw Cruz walking back on defense again. Somebody should remind him that as a midfielder, he does indeed have defensive responsibilities. There were also a couple times he was on the wrong side of the field.
      I really would love to know the reasons he starts.

      • Danny Cruz needs a break from this site. All the hate is unwarranted. Cruz walked back on defense because he just spent energy pressuring the opposing team defenders–he is human. You can criticize his ball skills not his hustle.

      • I can certainly criticize his hustle when he doesn’t use it to do his job. It wasn’t once; it was several times. Not even *trying* to play defense is unacceptable.

  11. DC really came after the left side of the defense early, thankfully to no avail. Fabinho looked solid getting the ball up field, but it seemed like he and Le Toux weren’t on the same page, which is understandable. As it got closer to the half, they seemed to sync better, and Le Toux in particular obviously got going well.

    • Yeah, he kept wanting Le Toux to cut back, and Le Toux kept running forward. He had a few turnovers early on because of that, but seemed to get better as the game went on.

  12. After that awful Chicago game this was a HUGE improvement. I get that it was a depleted DC roster, but it was a must win, and good teams win these kinds of games (unlike NYRB!). For the first time in weeks I thought all the substitutions were perfect. For me, I loved fabinho as a starter but I’m taking it with a grain of salt. It’s a really tough schedule going forward so this was great.

  13. Putting Ben Olson next to John Hackworth is a travesty
    When is Ray Gaddis gonna get on the case and get John some decent clothes. Our coach looks like his moms dressed him.

  14. Great game from Casey. Improved game from jack, but shoot the damn ball. Shaenon looks like his old self, and Fabinho played excellent (although against a stronger team with more pressure, idk that he gets forward as often and may be exposed). Carroll also had an effective game, although I’m thinking it may be the opponents quality, bc Derosario killed us right when he came on.
    Cruz was non-existent, no argument, and Farfan improved the team immediately on the right (just like many people have said for a long time). Le Toux, while I love him, did not have a good game yesterday. His touch was very poor most of the game. He wasn’t awful, but not strong.
    I just don’t see it with Keon, I’m sorry. Every game I want to give the guy a chance and he just stinks. Yes, he was improved over past performances no doubt, but this is against an awful team, and how could he NOT improve over past games? He is constantly in the wrong place, playing the ball sideways or back, and never shows any effort (except maybe immediately after a foul), he just doesn’t. Why do you think Casey and Jack have to come back to get the ball so often? Why do you think Le Toux has to curl into the middle to play the ball? Because we effectively have no CAM when Keon plays, it’s that simple.
    We have enough quality and youth and skill with the potential for growth, that it just kills me to see Hack keep starting the wrong couple guys each game. That said, pretty decent subs, although why wasn’t a third sub brought on the kill the game before the 90th minute?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *