Tonight, D.C. United welcomes Philadelphia Union to Audi Field as MLS begins its return to regularly scheduled play following the conclusion of the Leagues Cup.

The pair met earlier this month in a Round of 32 matchup that saw the Union end D.C.’s Leagues Cup run via penalty shootout (5-4). Philadelphia then went on to claim third place in the tournament after being knocked out in the semifinals by Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami.

In what will be their first regular season MLS match in over a month, Philadelphia will be trying to build on the form that has helped them reach their current third-place standing in the Eastern Conference. D.C. United, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from the tough road loss they suffered in their own MLS return against the New York Red Bulls, conceding the match’s only goal in the 88th minute.

Let us know your thoughts on tonight’s matchup in the comments!

Key Players: Mateusz Klich

Klich returns from suspension and will be available against Philadelphia. Since signing for D.C. at the beginning of the year from Leeds United, Klich has been one of United’s most consistent performers and has been able to play a multitude of positions. Playing mostly as a central midfielder during his time in Europe, Klich still primarily offers that stability in the middle of the park, but he’s also ventured further up the pitch since joining D.C. Sometimes playing as an attacking midfielder or on either wing, he’s become the second highest goal contributor on the team (after Christian Benteke). His absence through suspension was noticeable in last Sunday’s loss, and his availability for this match is a huge boost for D.C.

Watch out for: Dániel Gazdag

Gazdag has been a consistent best for the Union, able to generate creative play in the attack. The Hungarian midfielder has put nine in the back of the net so far this season for Philadelphia and scored a massive 22 goals during the 2022 campaign.

Challenges: D.C. United need to step up and snag points or risk missing a playoff spot as the regular season races toward a conclusion.

Previously: The Black-and-Red met up with the Union during the Leagues Cup (much to D.C.’s detriment) and they played to a regular season scoreless draw back in May.

D.C. United Availability:

Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Mohanad Jeahze (leg)

Philadelphia Union Availability:

Questionable: Julian Carranza (hamstring)

Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC

Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET

Referee: Marcos Deoliveira

Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

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Michael Carter

DCs marginal possesion advantage is stunning (only 53%), despite being down 3-0 for most of the game. Speaks to the quality of PHI, DC’s sloppiness tonight and DC’s general regression in that part of the game since the early-middle portion of the season when this side looked at their best.

Talonesque #

Eh, West Ham beat Brighton by the same score line relatively comfortably with 20% possession, and like 400 fewer passes. Pep doesn’t give as much of a shit about possession anymore, neither should we… or Gregg

Michael Carter

Game states matter. A team chasing the game should be able to do much better – thats my main point here not about possession on a generic level. Not to mention DC most likely have fewer shots and shots on goal this second half than PHI.

Talonesque #

Ah, gotcha, carry on

Michael Carter

I agree with your main point though. Possesion only matters so much as it leads to chances or at least threatning sequences in an opponents final third. DC didn’t have much of that either tonight.

Brendan Cartwright

If Benteke’s shot actually crossed the line, which it seems like it probably did, then that’s a 3-2 scoreline, with Fajardo’s offside goal nearly tying it up.

But… it wasn’t that close.

Will Nelson

2nd half was significantly better, but it don’t matter because we rolled a nat 1 for the first half and crit failed.


Anyone watch this online/TV? I’d love to know what replays showed, but it looked over the line from where I was sitting, behind that goal (for the first time). MLS needs goal line tech.

As for the closeness of the game — I ran into a friend on the Metro to the game, and I said to him that this would be the annual massacre of DC United by the Union. I was not surprised by result 00 what surprised me most was how closely fought the 2nd half was.

If Pedro Santos wasn’t starting tonight, with his horror show on both ends of pitch, DC United would have had at least 1 and probably all 3 points. His service on free kicks was as bad as I’ve seen, but mostly I fault him for at least both of the first 2 goals. He stupidly put Williams in a no win position passing back to him in the corner. Everyone in the stadium was probably screaming for one of them to play it out or just whack it upfield. As soon as Williams got the return pass, the Philly goal was clearly going to happen — and I’d bet everybody in the stands saw it coming. He also made a silly and half-assed attempt to challenge Philly run down the wing, leaving the defense totally exposed on the 2nd goal. I haven’t seen the replays before the PK concede by Miller, but I’m betting Santos screwed up on that play, too.

Yeah, Miller had to make some big saves, but so did Blake. Take out Santos’ many blunders and DC might even have been the better team.


On the traditional 0-10 rating system, I’d give Santos a negative number.

Canouse probably in positive territory or no worse than a 0. Williams made a few good plays after his massive blunder. HInes-Ike continues to underwhelm. And Benteke’s first touch let him down time after time. The rest of the team wasn’t that bad. Pirani passed up a great chance, but otherwise, he was clearly our danger man. Davis is our best corner kick taker since Gressel was shoved out the door.


I really don’t want to let this go without saying how impressed I am with Ted Ku-DiPietro. Every damn time.I get that he’s especially effective as a substitute, with the energy he brings, but he’ good enough to be starting. Eryk Williamson never got to play for DC United, so I’ll say that TKDP is the best attacking player to come out of the Academy to the first team (and yeah I’m including Griffin Yow and Kevin Paredes).

Stunned Duck

I left at the half. Everything I might have said, has already been said upthread.


Bryan McEachern

I didn’t feel well in the first half, medically speaking (ok now). I hid in the eagle bank club after the half. Never even looking at a tv. This just sucks. Then I get an email from Johnson telling me that my “Messi game” is included in next year’s season ticket package. What are we? The damn Wizards? Did they actually entertain NOT HAVING Miami in my season ticket package? STH ala carte?

WHO is hired to run PR for this club? HOW do I get that job. A job where I can suck and get paid without fear of liability?


My wife and I left in the 66th minute. I have some form of multi-game ticket package since 2000. I sat through 2013, hell, I sat through last year. Tonight’s performance was the most insipid, gutless performance i’ve ever seen from DCU. Rooney clearly has lost the locker room. You have an FO that hired 2 racists and a Director of Soccer Operations who can point to only one trophy (and that was a fluke) in the last 10 years and no playoffs at all since 2019. In any other sport you get fired for that record. Here Levien will probably extend Kasper for another 5 years. So Wayne, “your win all the home games strategy is now in the shitter, what’s Plan B? Getting on a plane to England?”

Bryan McEachern

Wow, you summed it up. You and I both elected to evert our eyes at or around the half. Wayne is gone. Utterly disengaged.

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