No One Got Hurt
The biggest goal of a preseason is to make sure everyone comes out in one piece. Getting into regular season shape, finding out formations and finalizing the roster are important, but health is the number one goal. Not including Josh Yaro’s shoulder separation in a training session, the Union enter the preseason relatively unscathed. And for those players who do have a few bumps and bruises, the week rest between playing DC United and the season opener in Vancouver on March 5 will get them game ready.
No Love Lost
Depsite it just being a preseason game, the United and Union played like both were fighting for a playoff birth. There were 10 yellow cards in the match between the two; six for Philadelphia and four for DC. Alejandro Bedoya was the only player to be shown off the field, amassing two yellows in the game. The two sides won’t have too much time to cool off either, as they meet on April 1 in Washington, DC.
Off the Bench
Head Coach Jim Curtin wanted to treat the preseason match against DC United as a regular season game, and he followed through, only making two substitutions during the game. Derrick Jones and Marcus Epps entered the game for Fabian Herbers and Chris Pontius, respectively, and the Union did not have the quality of play drop with these substitutions. Jones, a homegrown player, has appeared in all three preseason games for the Union and Curtin said he has worked his way into the conversation for a starting role with the Union. Epps helped spur the Union attack, even scoring a goal in the 86th minute. In the second half, the Union maintained possession much more than the first and had plenty of scoring chances, partly credited to the substitutions. It’s important for MLS teams to have quality players come off the bench, and the Union have proved that in the preseason.
In the 86th minute, Epps brought the ball just outside of the 18-yard box on the left side and cut into the middle. After a few touches, he ripped a shot on goal, scoring his first goal as a member of the Philadelphia Union and cutting the DC United lead to 2-3. The Union’s first goal of the game from Oguchi Onyewu, who scored his first goal since the 2013-14 season with Sheffield Wednesday. Onyewu headed home a pass from Richie Marquez, who caught his own rebound after heading a cross into the post. Unfortunately, the two goals wasn’t enough to overcome a prolific first half for the United.