Union / Union match reports

Match report: D.C. United 0-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

An elegant goal by Kacper Przybylko in first-half stoppage time gave Philadelphia Union a second straight win, defeating D.C. United 1-0 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Sunday night.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the Union side that won 1-0 against New York Red Bulls last Saturday. After a three-match suspension, Jose Martinez returned to the lineup in place of Anthony Fontana, with Leon Flach and Jamiro Monteiro each moving one spot up in the midfield diamond. Kacper Przybylko came in for Sergio Santos up top.

On a scorchingly hot night in the nation’s capital, the hosts were forced into a change after just four minutes when Edison Flores suffered an injury. Julian Gressel entered the match in his place, as the Union controlled the majority of the early possession.

After a 10-minute feeling out process, Philadelphia had the first quality scoring change, when Monteiro slipped Flach into United’s box. Keeper Jon Kempin did well to close down the angle and Flach’s flicked attempt was easily cleared. At the other end, Adrien Perez drove on goal after a Union turnover, but Jakob Glesnes recovered well to slide in and deflect the shot wide.

Andre Blake did well to bat away a free kick on the ground from Paul Arriola in the 24th minute. The former Atlanta man hit it around the wall, but Blake showed off his reflexes to get down and keep out the shot. Moments later, the Union were lucky that two open runners could not get on the end of a teasing cross from Gressel.

The visitors looked like a team lacking a bit of sharpness, and scoring chances were few and far between. Perez tested Blake from long range, but the shot didn’t have enough power to trouble the star keeper.

The Union had a great chance in the 43rd minute courtesy of a beautiful cross from Mbaizo. Flach got on the end of it and centered off Monteiro, and the ball caromed off a D.C. defender and right into Kempin’s grateful clutches.

Kacper Przybylko got the opening goal in first-half stoppage time. Monteiro put the ball over the top of the United backline, where Striker Muffin had darted in behind. He controlled with his first chance and finished neatly with his second. The flag went up for offside, but VAR showed that the striker’s run couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, and the Union went into the half up a goal.

D.C. manager Hernan Losada, now chasing the game, introduced Ola Kamara at the start of the second half in place of Moses Nyeman. Within three minutes, Kamara had made a dangerous run into the box, with his low cross forcing another timely intervention from Glesnes. Antonio Alfaro made the same play on Alejandro Bedoya at the other end of the pitch moments later.

Blake came up big moments again when he stoned substitute Kevin Paredes in the 63rd minute. With the ball bobbling around after a D.C. corner, it fell to the 18-year-old outside the box, who lined up a shot from distance. But Blake got to full extension to push the youngster’s shot over the bar.

Curtin handed Gazdag his MLS debut in the 67th minute, subbing him in for Martinez, while Sergio Santos replaced Burke. The newcomer moved to the top of the diamond, with Monteiro returning to the shuttler role and Flach slotting in as the No. 6.

Searching for an equalizer, D.C. amped up the pressure, but their end product was lacking. Perez had a free header eight yards out in the 76th minute, but he couldn’t direct his shot on frame. Andy Najar sent a similar header wide two minutes later.

Jamiro Monteiro picked up a knock and was replaced by Matt Real in the 85th minute. United huffed and puffed for the final five minutes, plus five minutes of stoppage time, but never came close to blowing down the Union’s house of bricks.

The Union’s last match before a three-week June break is next Sunday, May 30, when they will play host to Portland Timbers in a rare cross-conference matchup. Kickoff in front of an increased capacity crowd at Subaru Park will be at 7:00 p.m.

Three Points
  • Sumptuous. The combination between Monteiro and Przybylko for the game’s only goal couldn’t have been more perfect. At the other end, Jakob Glesnes turned in a man-of-the-match caliber performance at centerback.
  • Hello, Daniel. The Union’s newest signing made his debut sooner than most expected. While he didn’t have much to do in his 25-minute cameo, the Union get deeper and more dangerous with his arrival..
  • Stacking points. There were times where it wasn’t pretty against an inferior D.C. side. But the Union never looked out of control, and at this point in the season getting the three points on the road is the only prize that matters.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Olivier Mbaizo, Jacob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez (Daniel Gazdag 67′), Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro (Matt Real 85′), Kacper Przybylko, Cory Burke (Sergio Santos 67′)
Subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Stuart Findlay, Anthony Fontana, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan

D.C. United

Jon Kempin, Andy Najar, Brendan Hines-Ike, Antonio Alfaro (Donovan Pines 79′), Russell Canouse, Paul Arriola, Drew Skundrich (Felipe 78′), Moses Nyeman (Ola Kamara 45′), Joseph Mora (Kevin Paredes 60′), Edison Flores (Julian Gressel 4′), Adrien Perez
Subs: Chris Seitz, Frederic Brilliant, Junior Moreno, Yamil Asad

Scoring Summary

PHI: Kacper Przybylko — 45+1′ (Jamiro Monteiro)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez — 65′ (foul)
PHI: Andre Blake — 90+4′ (time wasting)


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Wow, that was the quickest postgame report ever as far as posting time after the game.
    0 road goals against in 5 games in all competitions.

  2. I don’t think the Union are good.
    But I can safely say they are not bad.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I don’t think the Union are good… yet. But they keep winning, which definitely says something. I will also agree with you on point two: they are definitely not bad.

  3. Peter,
    You have the headline score wrong. Your 3rd paragraph also seems to be out of place.

  4. Atomic Spartan says:

    Not pretty. Both Solid and lucky on defense.We’ll take it.

  5. We were not the better team this evening… but sometimes the Mark of a truly good team is that you win games even when you aren’t the better team.

    Agree that Glesnes was MOTM. And agree that the pass & run that led to the goal we’re freakin’ perfect.

    I was shocked to see Gazdag come on, only because he hardly knows the squad. But it was nice to see. I think people have been underrating this team, and that we’ll make some serious noise this season.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    Union own DC United. That’s the story here.
    It’s amazing this team sits back and just gets punched in the face over and over yet doesn’t seem to be fazed by it.
    I guess that is a good quality.

    • I kinda hate the bend but don’t break thought. Although the U do it well. Shocked to see Gazdag come on! Pretty cool though! The counter attack was not firing on all cylinders! But that goal was silly smooth!
      They can play “rope-a-dope” on the road, but I want a Sugar Ray body flurry at home!

      • el Pachyderm says:

        agree 100%.
        My great complaint in all this is the subservience without the ball at home.
        I’m not for it.

  7. Was a trespasser at the match and fortunately had a cool Union couple next to me near their supporters section for the fun. Hot and muggy match…not pretty to be expected given dehydrated and overworked players but who cares with a road win that we needed with the brutal opening schedule. Do it lovely do it ugly it’s all the same to me and the relevant tally.

  8. Tim Jones says:

    El Brujo was out of sync for the first 15-20 minutes, partly because DC was applying a high energy press. As the heat took its toll, he got more space and time and began to integrate better.
    Once Losada gets DC into top shape, that press will last longer and be a real challenge. They are not going to be easy to beat.
    The return of Martinez and the addition of Gazdag gives Curtin tremendous flexibility among his first 18. Fontana and Gazdag are both capable of playing as strikers, so he now has five again. And he is no longer forced to play the youngsters if everyone is here and healthy, he can choose to. From his syntax discussing them, he clearly prefers having the choice to maximize their opportunities for success in order to build them up.
    Flach’s ability to play the 6 allows Martinez to be rested and protected.
    The difference was that six of DC’s seven shots on goal were not quality and Andre Blake took care of the seventh. One of the Union’s two was, and Bill Hamid could not play.
    If they can avoid further injuries, once Ilsinho heals, reconditions, and returns this team will have several things to like.
    The two matches rescheduled into the September and October international breaks present real challenges in addition to the intense tournament-like pace of play for the entire month of October.
    The two remaining roster-building mysteries are the $200,000 for the 10th international slot and Matej Oravec.
    And re-signing Blake and Santos remain priorities, Real as well most likely. fontana’ Future will be interesting to discover.

  9. Ugly……that’s the first and only word that comes to mind. The inability to maintain possession of any kind in the second half is troubling. Congrats on surviving the second half to get a road victory but that performance was reminiscent of the Union of old. I don’t want to see any more of kacper and burke starting together. I think we’ve proven that combo doesn’t work and isn’t inherently dangerous. Agree with the earlier comment that brujo looked completely lost for the first 15-20 minutes and only slightly better after that. Hopefully this is just a one and done type performance and one that still led to 3 points.

  10. To me they looked like a tired team looking to do just enough to win. Fairly sloppy for most of the game but high quality came thru just long enough to bite the other team when they were napping a bit (Something that used to happen to the Union a lot by the way – typically in the last 10 minutes of a half).

    What impressed me was the way they all played together and covered for each other when someone was out of position. I think I saw Kasper covering right back for Mbaizo at one point. That is what impressed me in an otherwise unimpressive game.

    They play as a team, and if they can continue to do that they will continue to get better and better as they learn their team mates’ patterns and habits. A star player brings their skills to a team but a team that plays together gets more than the sum of their parts over time. Looking forward to seeing this team get better and not just get a goal and hang on but get a goal and then another and another so the other team just gives up and we can start rotating players and get some of the young ones on.

    A win on the road in May may mean a lot more in October than it does now and I don’t think any of us will think back to how they won, just that it was a “W”.

  11. In the first leg against Atlanta in CCL, I was having heart palpitations. Panic sweats.

    I did not get that at all last night.

  12. The Truth says:

    One goal scored in the last four outta five games. The boys in blue need to come up with some more attacking inventiveness. Though the defense is stalwart now, things don’t last forever. This could’ve easily been a two or three goal loss.

  13. Scott of Nazareth says:

    Maybe its just me – and maybe its just because I’m not used to watching Union wins as much, but there does seem to be a lot of extra writhing around in pain after fouls, slow walking subs and throw ins, etc. I totally get it and understand its part of game play, but I like to hate it when the other team is doing it, not so much when we’re doing it.

    • There was a time where the youthful ignorance of this organization would have fallen victim to these sort of tactics. Now they could teach master classes. I have also hated seeing these tactics in the past. Especially when they were used against the U.S. national team. But that’s just going into a fight one handed. The other team has tools that you aren’t using and it gives them the advantage. If the knock-on affect is that the players developed in this country learn how to employ and deal with this tactic, then I’m all for it.

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