Match recap: Union upended by rival D.C. United, 1-0 despite another strong showing at PPL Park

Milestone goal for United's Rolfe in sixth minute seals Union fate

 

A sixth minute goal from D.C. United’s Chris Rolfe found the Union on the latter end of a 1-0 final against their rival Saturday at PPL Park.

Taking a deflected cross down with his chest, Rolfe hit a strong volley past Zac MacMath, capping the 50th goal of his nine-year MLS career.

It was a carbon copy match for Philadelphia, who held edge in all the important statistics, attempts on goal, passing accuracy, possession, you name it…all but the result that could get this team out of a funk that has reached its ninth straight match – the longest in franchise history.

"You could tell there is frustration in every part of it," Union manager John Hackworth said postgame. "We feel like we’re a much better team than our results are showing obviously. But yet even when we play well, as we did at the start of the game, somehow we give up a goal on their first shot and that’s just the way the season has gone for us. As coaches and players, our whole staff, our whole organization is definitely frustrated at this point. I don’t know how to put it any other way."

During that time, the Union continuously gave D.C. fits, and had many chances to pull one past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. The biggest came in the 64th minute, when after a great turn and shot on target in the box from forward Andrew Wenger was saved by Hamid, pounced on by forward Conor Casey and again saved by Hamid and then attempts from Danny Cruz and Cristian Maidana all went asunder right in front of goal.

At the edge of stoppage time, the Union threatened yet again when a corner kick from Sebastien Le Toux found Cruz at the top of the 18-yard-box. Cruz hit a rocket that forced Hamid to punch it high and away.

“It was a good match and a good result for us,” said United and U.S. men’s national team forward Eddie Johnson. “But if I’m being honest despite their record [the Union] were a very good team. We couldn’t come here and take these guys lightly; they played some good football and have been unfortunate in a lot of games.  We knew we were going to be in for a tough battle and I’m proud of my teammates because Philly didn’t make it easy.”

Saturday’s match kicked off yet another three game in eight day stretch for the Union as the team travels to take on defending MLS champions in Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) followed by a return to PPL Park to host New England (7 p.m., purchase tickets) for the second time this season. The Union defeated the Revolution for its only win of the season in the club’s home opener on March 15.

“I don’t think anyone is putting too much pressure on each other,” said goalkeeper Zac MacMath, postgame. “We always tell each other to relax and have fun out there and compete; and for the most part we did that. We are going to get a quick turnaround we’ll be in [to train on Sunday] and right now the mindset has to be focusing on getting three points in Kansas City.”

What did you think of today’s match? Leave a comment below.

Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com