Philadelphia Union fell to D.C. United 2-1 in their first Suncoast Invitational match of 2018 at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Union will return to action on Wednesday, when they take on Montreal Impact in their second match of the tournament at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida.
D.C. United struck first in the 14th minute thanks to a goal from newly acquired Darren Mattocks. The goal was scored after a nice ball was sent into the box by Zoltan Stieber. Mattocks was able to position his body around Union defender Ray Gaddis and find the back of the net to give DCU the 1-0 lead.
Moments later DCU had a golden opportunity to double their lead. After Fabinho was issued a yellow card for taking down a man just outside the 18, Stieber stepped up and sent a free kick that looked destined for the back of the net. Union goalkeeper John McCarthy dove to his left and kept DCU’s lead to 1-0.
Two minutes later Philadelphia had an opportunity to even the match. Midfielder David Accam was able to race across the pitch and find open space in the attacking zone, leaving the DCU goalkeeper no choice but to come off his line towards Accam. The Ghanaian was able to glide past the charging keeper, sending a shot on frame, but the defense was able to get back into position and clear the chance off the line to keep the match at 1-0 in favor of D.C. United.
The Union saw their best opportunity of the first half in the 30th minute of play. After CJ Sapong was fouled in the box, Philadelphia was awarded a penalty. Sapong stepped up to the spot but was unable to convert as the ball was tipped on the line and the bounced off the crossbar and out.
Philadelphia finished the first half with the majority of the possession and threatened near the DCU net, but couldn’t find the equalizer and the first 45 finished with DCU leading 1-0.
The second half began with Philadelphia continuing to put pressure on DCU. After an hour of action the Union made multiple substitutions, which led to multiple chances. Forward Jay Simpson created an opportunity in the box with fancy footwork but pushed his shot wide of the net.
Later in the half, Philadelphia almost found the equalizer after a great build up. Keegan Rosenberry sent a ball into the box for Fafa Picault who then found Adam Najem streaking into the 18. Najem’s attempt was sent over the bar and match stayed 1-0.
Najem found redemption in the 88th minute after sending a ball into the box, finding Cory Burke. The Jamaican international was able to put his shot on frame and into the back of the net to tie the match. Moments later, DCU was able to take the lead off of a Luciano Acosta goal which proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 D.C. United victory.