Philadelphia Union battled back from an early deficit to win 3-2 over D.C. United in their seventh game of the 2018 MLS season. With the win, the Union improved to 2-2-3 on the season with 8 points. Philadelphia will be back home on May 19th against Real Salt Lake.
Head Coach Jim Curtin made two changes to the starting XI that played against FC Dallas on April 21st. Jack Elliot returned from injury to pair with Auston Trusty on the backline, while Ilsinho came in for Fafa Picault on the right wing. The decision to play Ilsinho paid off as he scored the first goal of the match for the Union in the 37th minute.
The match started slow but quickly turned in the seventh minute when Jack Elliot turned over possession trying to play out of the back. The ball fell to D.C. United midfielder Luciano Acosta who slipped in Zoltán Stieber for a one-on-one against Andre Blake. Stieber calmly knocked the ball under the diving Blake to give D.C. a 1-0 lead.
Although the Union conceded early they responded well to the early deficit. In the 11th minute, David Accam danced through the midfield and found a cutting Ilsinho who could only blast his effort high and wide. Eight minutes later, Borek Dočkal located Accam, but the winger could not get his volley on target as it went sailing over the net in the 19th minute.
After fifteen minutes of controlling possession, the home side finally made the visitors pay. Keegan Rosenberry assisted on the goal when he played in Ilsinho on the outside of the 18-yard box. The 32 year-old dribbled past Joseph Mora with relative ease and fired a toe poke that deflected off of United defenseman Fredric Brillant and settled into the corner of the net. The 37th minute goal was the first for Ilsinho in the 2018 MLS season.
Just seconds after the restart, Dočkal continued to find space in the middle of the field and cause D.C. havoc. He fired one of his five shots down to the right of D.C. United goalkeeper Steve Clark who saved well. The Union closed out the half with more pressure but could not find their second goal.
The second half picked up with Ilsinho continuing to pester the right side of the D.C. defense. The tricky Brazilian laid off a pass in the 51st minute to Haris Medunjanin who could only manage a blocked shot that fell to Accam. Accam’s follow-up rattled off D.C. United right back Nick DeLeon for another Union corner.
Nine minutes later the Union took their first lead of the match. Medunjanin’s delicate back post chip in the 60th minute met the head of Union Captain Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya then headed the ball across the box where CJ Sapong waited patiently to knock in his second goal of the season.
D.C. United manager Ben Olsen decided to throw on forward Darren Mattocks for a more attacking presence in the 67th minute. The decision proved to be the correct one when just three minutes later Stieber sent in a perfect curling cross to the back post. Mattocks volleyed the ball off the side of his foot and past his Jamaican national teammate Blake for his third goal of the year.
However, the Union would not be denied the three points and only two minutes later Borek Dočkal scored his first career MLS goal in the 72nd minute. Substitute Fafa Picault’s through ball deflected off Christopher Durkin and fell to Dočkal on the right side of the six-yard box. Dočkal made no mistakes as he launched the ball into the top netting and sent the Union faithful into celebration.
The Union saw the match off by controlling possession and remaining strong defensively. Cory Burke came in the 85th minute and had an opportunity to score in the 89th minute but his tame shot rolled into the arms of Clarke.
Philadelphia held off the DCU attacked in the dying moments, and as the final whistle blew for a 3-2 home victory. The Union will now play three road games in eight days. The first of these eight games will come against Toronto FC on May 4th at 8:00 P.M.