CHESTER, Pa. – Sébastien Le Toux’s brace and Michael Farfan’s one-goal, one-assist evening lifted the Philadelphia Union to a critical 3-2 victory over visiting D.C. United in a nationally televised showdown Thursday night at PPL Park.
The win vaults Philadelphia (10-7-13, 43 points) from fourth place into second place in the crowded Eastern Conference, just one point behind conference leader Sporting Kansas City.
Meanwhile, D.C. United (9-9-11, 38 points), despite goals from Dwayne De Rosario and Andy Najar, remain in sixth place in the East and, for now, on the outside looking in for a postseason berth.
Farfan broke the 2-2 deadlock in the 57th minute when he took a nifty first touch to get around sliding D.C. defender Brandon McDonald, dribbled into space and, when no one closed in on him, unleashed a rocket from just outside the box that found the upper corner of the net.
It was the second goal of the season for the Union rookie, who has emerged as a major threat in the midfield in recent weeks.
Earlier, Le Toux started off the high-scoring affair with a fourth-minute goal, finishing off a long ball from teammate Carlos Valdés that the D.C. United defense appeared to misjudge.
Just 11 minutes later, the Union’s star Frenchman scored his second goal of the match when he took a nice first touch on a terrific, arching, cross-field pass from Farfan and beat D.C. goalie Bill Hamid.
The red-hot Le Toux now has nine goals in his last eight games after scoring just once through the team’s first 22 contests. Farfan has assisted on a Le Toux goal in each of Philly's past two games.
D.C. United, though, quickly countered with their top goal-scorer, as De Rosario netted his league-leading 14th goal of the season, heading a corner kick from Najar past Union rookie ’keeper Zac MacMath.
Najar then got into the scoring with a fantastic individual effort. On a counter-attack in the 30th minute, the dynamic Honduran international ran the entire length of the field, capped by a dribbling clinic he put on to beat Farfan and then a strong shot that got by MacMath to the near post.
Both teams had other opportunities to score in the first half – the Union’s Veljko Paunovic had a couple of shots on target and United’s Ethan White ripped a shot that went just wide – but went into halftime tied at 2-2.
D.C. United didn’t have too many opportunities to come back once Philly took the 3-2 lead, in part because they subbed out De Rosario and standouts Charlie Davies (stomach flu) and Chris Pontius (broken leg) were already out of commission.
The Union were also without a key attacking player in striker Danny Mwanga (right hip flexor strain) but got an added boost from Freddy Adu, who came on as a second-half sub despite a bum ankle.
It was the fist time Adu has ever played against D.C. United, who signed him as a 14-year-old in 2004.
Both teams now have very short turnarounds with the Union heading out to the West Coast to play Chivas USA on Sunday and D.C. United taking on Columbus on the road the same day.
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 9 (unassisted) 4
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 10 (Michael Farfan 3) 15
DC -- Dwayne De Rosario 14 (Austin Da Luz 2) 21
DC -- Andy Najar 5 (unassisted) 30
PHI -- Michael Farfan 2 (unassisted) 57
DC -- Perry Kitchen (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
DC -- Brandon McDonald (caution; Reckless Foul) 70
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Brandon McDonald, Marc Burch, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Stephen King, Austin Da Luz (Blake Brettschneider 73), Dwayne De Rosario (Santino Quaranta 61), Josh Wolff. Substitutes
Not Used: Chris Korb, Kurt Morsink, Joseph Ngwenya, Daniel Woolard, Joe Willis.
Philadelphia Union -- Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams (Kyle Nakazawa 80), Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Amobi Okugo (Justin Mapp 46), Brian Carroll, Roger Torres (Freddy Adu 60), Veljko Paunovic, Sebastien Le Toux.
Substitutes Not Used: Jack McInerney, Zach Pfeffer, Joe Tait, Chase Harrison.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: -Peter Manikowski; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Terry Vaughn
Time of Game: 1:51