Playing their final match of the Suncoast Invitational and their last preseason contest before next weekend's 2017 season opener at Vancouver, Philadelphia fell to D.C. United by a 3-2 final at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. Oguchi Onyewu and Marcus Epps were the goal-scorers for Philadelphia.
D.C. United was fueled by three first-half goals from Patrick Nyarko, Jared Jeffrey and Patrick Mullins. Luciano Acosta assisted on Jeffrey's tally with a cross from the righthand side, while Lloyd Sam received credit for a helper on Mullins' goal, which was a long-range effort from outside the box.
The Union were not without their own chances in the opening frame, the most notable of which came from a swirling shot from distance by Haris Medunjanin that Bill Hamid pawed away with his right hand. Jay Simpson also had a solid look at goal in the 36th minute, ripping a shot that went high after a centering pass from Chris Pontius. In the 43rd minute, Ilsinho went on a marauding, end-to-end run and nearly set up Simpson for a goal before blasting a shot just high himself.
Philadelphia made one change at the half, bringing in C.J. Sapong for Simpson. Sapong nearly put Philadelphia on the board in the 49th minute with a turning look at goal on Hamid's doorstep, but the D.C. keeper was able to make the save.
In the 51st minute, the Union were indeed able to get one back through new signing Oguchi Onyewu, who headed home from close range after Richie Marquez drove the ball across the face of goal.
Philadelphia made their second change in the 61st minute with Derrick Jones replacing Fabian Herbers, allowing Alejandro Bedoya to push forward in midfield. Ilsinho nearly made it 2-3 for the Union after a ball fell to him at the back post in the 68th, but he could not corral an awkward bounce and the chance went just high. Marcus Epps replaced Chris Pontius as the Union's third change in the 75th minute, and the rookie from nearby South Florida made it 2-3 with a blistering right-footed strike in the 86th minute, but the Union could not find the equalizer in the waning moments.
The Union begin the 2017 MLS regular-season next Sunday, March 5 with a contest at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET and the match will be televised on The Comcast Network.
Union lineup: Blake; Rosenberry, Onyewu, Marquez, Fabinho; Medunjanin, Bedoya; Ilsinho, Herbers (D. Jones 62'), Pontius (Epps 75'); Simpson (Sapong 46')
DCU - Nyarko (unassisted) 14'
DCU - Jeffrey (Acosta) 21'
DCU - Mullins (Sam) 24'
PHI - Onyewu (Marquez) 51'
PHI - Epps (unassisted) 86'
PHI - Marquez (caution) 9'
PHI - Fabinho (caution) 21'
PHI - Rosenberry (caution) 33'
DCU - Acosta (caution) 34'
PHI - Bedoya (caution) 41'
DCU - Sarvas (caution) 43'
PHI - Sapong (caution) 46'
PHI - Bedoya (second caution, ejection) 89'