Sébastian Le Toux scored a hat trick and thePhiladelphia Union brought soccer back to the City of Brotherly Love in styleon Saturday. The expansion side held off D.C. United 3-2 in front of a crowd of34,870 in their home debut at Lincoln Financial Field.
Philly struck first with early pressure from the wings. In thefifth minute, Roger Torres swung the ball in towards the near post for Le Toux,who calmly slotted it home for the 1-0 lead.
The Union controlled play for the next 20 minutes, as D.C. seemedwilling to allow the home side to dictate the tempo. Philly doubled its lead inthe 40th minute, thanks again to the French forward.
Running onto a great deep ball from Alejandro Moreno, Le Touxbeat out two United defenders and slotted home into the far corner of TroyPerkins’ net.
The home team remained in the driver’s seat after the restart aswell with impressive possession on the ball. The Union also got another lookearly in the second half as Alejandro Moreno took a deep ground pass anddummied it to Le Toux, who was in on goal but put the ball right into Perkins,who was off his line quickly.
United had a solid chance in the 60th minute when Philly defenderCristian Arrieta fouled Santino Quaranta just outside the Union area. ChrisPontius took the free kick but wasn’t able to test ‘keeper Chris Seitz, whowatched the ball float over his net.
But momentum slowly started to shift United’s way, and it wasn’tlong until D.C. got on the board. In the 63rd, Quaranta again put pressure on the Union back lineand, this time, instead of being fouled, went for the left-footed blast fromthe right side of the area. The shot curled nicely into the near post past theoutstretched hand of Seitz to cut Philadelphia’s lead in half.
Seven minutes later, D.C. evened things up as Jaime Moreno wasable to poach a goal literally right out of Seitz’s hands. The United ‘keeperwent to clear the ball on a drop- kick when Moreno jumped in front of him,snatched it and deposited the ball into an open net.
Controversy struck the match in the 79th minute when Moreno spunaround United defender Dejan Jakovic just outside the area. Jakovic saw red forthe challenge as it was deemed a bit too harsh by referee Terry Vaughn’sstandards.
Stepping up to take the free kick was Le Toux, who magicallyslotted home his third goal to return the lead to Philly for good.
PHI -- Sébastien Le Toux 1 (Roger Torres 1, Alejandro Moreno 1)4
PHI -- Sébastien Le Toux 2 (Alejandro Moreno 2) 40
DC -- Santino Quaranta 1 (unassisted) 63
DC -- Jaime Moreno 1 (unassisted) 70
PHI -- Sébastien Le Toux 3 (unassisted) 80
DC -- Rodney Wallace (caution; Reckless Foul) 35
DC -- Brandon Barklage (caution; Reckless Tackle) 41
PHI -- Cristian Arrieta (caution; Tactical Foul) 60
DC -- Danny Allsopp (caution; Reckless Tackle) 66
DC -- Santino Quaranta (caution; Tactical Foul) 73
DC -- Dejan Jakovic (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity(Foul) 78
DC -- Adam Cristman (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 89
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Weather: Sunny and 63 degrees
NOTE: Union head coach Peter Nowak was not on the bench,following the death of the Polish president earlier Saturday. Assistant coachJohn Hackworth handled all bench coaching and media responsibilities, thoughNowak was in contact from a booth in the stadium. The nation of Poland is undera week of national mourning.