United travel to Philadelphia for the second time this season Saturday evening for a date with the Union (7:00 PM on NC8). After trailing in the second half, courtesy of a 57th minute Burrito Martínez goal, the Black-and-Red were looking for a late goal at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, on Friday, July 1. United salvaged a point on the road after substitute Jared Jeffrey headed home a Fabián Espíndola corner in stoppage time to tie the game up.
The Black-and-Red will look to continue their road resilience when they travel to Talen Energy Stadium for the second time in just over a month. The last time the two teams met, D.C. United fell 1-0 after Sebastien Le Toux sent in a cross to Richie Marquez, who sent the ball past Travis Worra in second-half stoppage time.
Bill Hamid, who missed the two teams’ last matchup while recovering from knee surgery, has been in fine form since his return on May 27. Hamid, who now has 24 saves (GAA 0.60) and three shutouts in just five appearances, has picked up right where he left off. The 25-year-old also racked up an impressive seven saves (a season-high and the most he’s recorded in a match since last August) and kept United in contention all night before Jeffrey’s late game-tying goal.
"Talen Energy Park is not an easy place to play," Hamid said. "So we’re going to go up there, we’re going to put up our best performance on the field and try to walk out of there with three points.”
Jeffrey, now in his fourth MLS season with United, has already played in more games this season than any other (11). After replacing Luciano Acosta in the 65th minute to help provide an extra push in midfield and shore up the defense, the Texas native scored his first league goal since 2013.
"It’s a big game for us," Jeffrey said. "We felt that we left a little bit on the table last time we were there and we’re interested to get back and hopefully get a good result.”
A big threat against Hamid and the United defense, Le Toux leads the Union with five assists to go along with two goals. Le Toux is joined by a talented finisher up front in C.J. Sapong, who has scored five goals this season and tallied a lone assist. But after both attackers have missed time recently, newcomer Roland Alberg has been in good form, scoring a hat trick against Chicago on June 22. Early Rookie of the Year candidate Keegan Rosenberry, a former Georgetown Hoya, has been one of the Union’s most consistent players throughout this year’s campaign and is always looking to join the attack from right back.
The Union, who started the season strong, have now lost three of their last four games, all of which were decided by one-goal margins. United, meanwhile, are gaining traction in the East and have earned impressive road draws against Houston and Salt Lake. The Black-and-Red will look to put a dent in Philadelphia’s impressive 6-1-2 record at home this season. Don’t miss this Saturday night Eastern Conference MLS action on NewsChannel 8. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM.