After neither team scored more than one goal in any of their three meetings last season, there were plenty to go around Sunday in a rivalry match between Philadelphia and D.C. United.
On the strength of Jack McInerney’s brace, the visiting Union pulled out a 3-2 victory on a brisk spring afternoon at RFK Stadium, ending a three-match winless streak while United dropped their fourth straight contest.
McInerney scored goals in the seventh and 26th minutes to take over the MLS lead with six on the season as United’s defense, which hadn’t allowed more than two goals in a game before Sunday, struggled to keep up.
The Union (3-2-2, 11 points) won for the first time at RFK while United (1-5-1, 4 points) can take some solace in the fact that they scored as many goals against Philadelphia as they had in six previous matches.
McInerney opened the scoring early after Brian Carroll slid and intercepted a pass by United defender Dejan Jakovic. Philadelphia forward Conor Casey then played a through ball to McInerney, who settled it, split United’s center backs and blasted a left-footed shot past D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Four minutes later, Philadelphia made it 2-0 when former United midfielder Danny Cruz found Casey open at the top of the 18-yard box for a shot that beat Hamid low and to his left.
D.C. trimmed the deficit to one on Perry Kitchen’s first goal of the season in the 17th minute. Captain Dwayne De Rosario assisted Kitchen, as well as center back Brandon McDonald, on what was his second MLS goal.
Ultimately, however, McInerney’s 26th-minute strike proved to be the game winner. Union defender Sheanon Williams delivered a strong throw toward the middle where Amobi Okugo’s flick header put the ball at the feet of McInerney, who didn’t miss.
In the second half, United applied solid offensive pressure and pulled within one on former Philadelphia forward Lionard Pajoy’s 48th-minute goal. For his second of the season, Pajoy headed a Daniel Woolard cross past Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Despite throwing numbers forward late in the game and United coach Ben Olsen subbing on forward Carlos Ruiz, who had a free kick from just outside the box in stoppage time that was saved by MacMath, United weren’t able to avoid climbing out of last place in the Eastern Conference while Philadelphia moved into a tie for fourth with New York.