Co-written by Alex Zets, guest contributor
D.C. United finally returned to regular season play at Audi Field with a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia Union in front of a crowd of 19,215.
Jim Curtin’s men started off strong, capitalizing on a turnover to drive deep into the Black-and-Red’s defensive half. Within the first 5′ they had managed to find the back of the net, with Julián Carranza lofting a ball for Mikael Uhre to drive home.
The first 15′ did not improve for D.C. United. Another quick Union turnover found every hole in the Black-and-Red’s backline. A quick backheel flick by Carranza to Jack McGlynn sealed the deal, and McGlynn took a touch to slot one in past Tyler Miller in the 13′.
The Black-and-Red remained tepid throughout the first half, just not quite able to muster the moxie to surpass Philadelphia’s airtight defense. Andre Blake had limited work to do, saving a few softballs.
In the 36′, Miller collided with Carranza in the box, knocking him clean to the ground and garnering a penalty kick for the Union. Not surprisingly, Dániel Gazdag stepped up to the spot to convert and set the scoreline at 0-3. Gazdag had scored eight penalties already this season. Tonight marked number nine.
The Black-and-Red headed to the locker room with a lot to consider. As expected, Wayne Rooney began making changes at the break, bringing in Alex Bono for Miller and Ruan for Chris Durkin.
In the 49′ Christian Benteke made one of his signature headers that appeared to be a goal. Blake swatted the ball away, but the shot certainly appeared to cross the goal line. The outrage that ripped through Audi Field was deafening, but no VAR review occurred.
Philadelphia relaxed into their lead, taking their foot off the gas – slightly. It was enough for Ted Ku-DiPietro to ride a fast break and knock one back from a distance, destroying Andre Blake’s clean sheet in the 88′. Play your kids, friends.
While it was a rough night at Audi Field, Russell Canouse had a message for supporters that he shared with The District Press.
Canouse said, “I’m super disappointed that we couldn’t give a result to them tonight. I just want to say we need you and also thank you for coming out tonight. Obviously, the result wasn’t what we wanted to the fans and then leave them going home with nothing but I just want to say, we definitely need them going into this last stretch. It’s super important for us.”
D.C. United remains at home to take on Chicago Fire next Saturday, September 2, at 7:30 pm ET.
- Pirani was a standout D.C. United player (besides Ted Ku-DiPietro, of course). The standout player has to be new signing, Gabriel Pirani. Having just joined the Black-and-Red on loan from Santos this month, Pirani’s first match for D.C. was in their recent loss to the New York Red Bulls, where he put in a good shift. Against Philadelphia, the 21-year-old showed D.C. fans that they have something to be excited about with his addition. The creative midfielder took on defenders, picked out some amazing passes, and was overall the main attacking spark for the Black-and-Red. While he’s only just settling in, we can certainly see the Brazilian quickly becoming a fan favorite. Rooney said, “I thought he was very good again tonight…The problem you have is you get to see new players and there’s not long left in the season. So trying to plug them all in at once, into the starting lineup, is difficult.”
- PLAY YOUR KIDS. It took a late (74′) substitution of Ted Ku-DiPietro to break the dam for the Black-and-Red. We’re disappointed Jackson Hopkins didn’t join in the fun off the bench. We’ll say it again, “PLAY YOUR KIDS.”
- Service needs improvement. D.C.’s fullbacks found themselves time and time again in prime crossing position, but the end product was lacking. Countless crosses were over-hit, under-hit, or whipped straight into the gloves of Andre Blake. Toward the end of the match especially, D.C. United won many freekicks around the box but met with the same disappointment in their delivery.
MLS Regular Season – Game 28
D.C. United: 1 Ku-DiPietro 88′
Philadelphia Union: 3 Uhre 5′, McGlynn 13′, Gazdag 38′ (PK)
D.C. United: Tyler Miller (Alex Bono 46′), Pedro Santos (Éric Davis 74′), Derrick Williams, Steven Birnbaum, Brendan Hines-Ike (José Fajardo 79′), Chris Durkin (Ruan 46′), Russell Canouse, Mateusz Klich, Gabriel Pirani, Yamil Asad (Ted Ku-DiPietro 74′), Christian Benteke
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez (Leon Flach 26′), Daniel Gazdag, Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno (Alejandro Bedoya 64′), Mikael Uhre (Quinn Sullivan 90’+2′), Julian Carranza (Chris Donovan 64′)
D.C. United: Miller 36′
Philadelphia Union: Harriel 68′, Glesnes 76′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United // Hannah Wagner