MLS MATCHDAY 23
D.C. United vs Philadelphia Union
Saturday, August 19 - 5:00 PM ET
TV: NBC Sports Network | channel finder
D.C. United’s showdown with the Philadelphia Union this weeknever figured to be a love-fest. But when word spread Thursday that the Black-and-Red had pulled amid-week trade with their weekend foe, the talking points around Sunday’s matchsuddenly shifted.
What the rivals can’t discern about each other from theirproximity, they can easily learn from those who have swapped shirts in one ofMajor League Soccer’s premier rivalries.
Danny Cruz and Lionard Pajoy are the latest to join thelist, but certainly not the first. Philly’s Brian Carroll and Chris Albright both wore black and red beforedonning navy blue and gold.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Freddy Adu, who will play at RFKin a league match for the first time since D.C. traded the teen-phenom to RealSalt Lake in 2007.
“I think Freddy has at times been very good for them thisyear,” said D.C. head coach Ben Olsen earlier this week. “He’s obviously a kid that we know hasspecial qualities on the ball and produces some great plays. You make sure you don’t give him a lotof freedom and time to do what he wants to do.”
Olsen’s crew enters Sunday’s encounter in need of awin. Occupying fifth place, in theEastern Conference, D.C. can no longer afford the errors that have endangeredthe club’s hopes of snapping a four-year playoff drought.
“We do it to ourselves,” said defender Brandon McDonald whenasked about United’s recent stretch that has seen D.C. lose three of its lastfour contests. “It’s not liketeams are scoring unbelievable goals, it’s our mistakes in positioning orgiving up the ball. If we caneliminate those errors, the sky is the limit.”
The Black-and-Red managed to eliminate those errors earlierthis summer in a narrow victory over the Union at PPL Park. Despite falling at home, Philadelphiadominated – owning 55% of possession and more than doubling D.C.’s attempts ongoal. Chris Pontius provided a lategame-winner on the day, but even the MLS All-Star MVP isn’t overconfidentheading into Sunday.
“Philly gave us a tough time the last time we played them upthere,” Pontius said on Wednesday. “I think we were lucky to get out of there with a 1-0 win. They took it to us most of the game. This is huge for us, especially comingoff the loss to Kansas City.”
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REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Matthew Foerster
MLS Career: 99 games; FC/gm: 26.3; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 23; pens: 33
- D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); DF Robbie Russell (L plantar fasciitis); DF Daniel Woolard (concussion-like symptoms); DOUBTFUL: FW Dwayne De Rosario (L shoulder soreness); QUESTIONABLE: FW Maicon Santos (R toe soreness); PROBABLE: FW Hamdi Salihi (viral infection)
- PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion symptoms); QUESTIONABLE: FW Jorge Perlaza (low back strain); DF Gabriel Farfan (L ankle sprain); MF Michael Farfan (L foot contusion); PROBABLE: MF Jimmy McLaughlin (L shoulder labral tear); FW Antoine Hoppenot (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Gabriel Gomez, Michael Farfan
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Andy Najar, Dejan Jakovic … PHI: Brian Carroll, Carlos Valdes, Lionard Pajoy, Gabriel Farfan
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): United 2 wins, 9 goals … Union 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 1
AT RFK STADIUM (2 meetings): United 1 win, 4 goals … Union 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 9/20: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Chris Pontius – who was later named MLS All-Star Game MVP with his performance vs. Chelsea FC at Union’s PPL Park – scored the game’s lone goal for D.C. United’s win June 16 in Chester.
- Union recorded a 2-1 win in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match at the Maryland Soccerplex on June 5. Goals from Philadelphia's Brian Carroll and D.C.'s Josh Wolff right at halftime sent the match to overtime, where Antoine Hoppenot scored the game-winner five minutes into the extra session.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. DC: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Ben Olsen vs. PHI: P4 W2 L1 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
6/16: PHI 0, DC 1 (Pontius 78)
- The game's lone goal came in the 78th minute, when United's Chris Pontius finished off a Branko Boskovic free kick, tapping in from close range.
- In the first game in charge for interim manager John Hackworth, Union generated the majority of scoring chances putting nine attempts on goal and three shots on target, but United goalkeeper Bill Hamid held firm.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan (Jorge Perlaza 82) - Michael Lahoud, Brian Carroll - Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan, Josue Martinez (Antoine Hoppenot 62) - Jack McInerney (Chandler Hoffman 74).
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon (Lewis Neal 61) - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Branko Boskovic 72), Chris Pontius (Hamdi Salihi 80)