Playoff Bound: McKenzie wondergoal earns Union 2-2 draw, postseason berth

Mark McKenzie’s first MLS goal earned a point for the Union on the road at DC United Wednesday evening in a seesaw 2-2 draw. With Jakob Glesnes out of the lineup, McKenzie took it on himself to fire a long range dagger that stunned the home side in the dying moments of the match.

Anthony Fontana got his fifth goal of the season for Philly early in the second half as the Union continue to chase their first Supporters’ Shield. 

Jim Curtin returned to a 4-4-2 with Bedoya at the base of a diamond and Fontana at the tip. Sergio Santos and Kacper Przybylko led the line as Philly sought to close the gap on Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference. 

Early in the match, both sides fought for opportunities but few were forthcoming. Jamiro Monteiro tested former Union goalie Chris Seitz from distance in the 23rd minute but the veteran got low in a hurry to preserve the even scoreline. 

DC United showed a renewed vigor coming into their second match without long-time head coach Ben Olsen, but Andre Blake was rarely troubled in the first half. When he was, Blake showed once again why he is a league MVP candidate. Asad looped in a free kick from the right and after a scuffle, Frederic Brillant put his laces into a shot from just outside the six yard box. Incredibly, Blake got down to clear it away from goal. 

Philly finally grabbed a lead in the 49th minute. Anthony Fontana’s hot streak continued as the homegrown out-worked his opponents to latch onto a loose ball in the box after great work from Sergio Santos near the endline. Fontana’s sliding goal came on his 21st birthday. 

The Union, however, couldn’t hold the lead. In the 71st minute, Donovan Pines sliced through Philly’s set piece defense and easily tucked away a free header to even the scoreline. Moments later, Asad got on the scoreline himself. 

A shot from just outside the box deflected off Alejandra Bedoya’s arm and the whistle blew. Asad went left, putting DC in the lead. 

But the match was far from over. In the 87th minute, Olivier Mbaizo sent Ilsinho down to the endline and the Brazilian cut the ball back toward the top of the box. As it rolled out of the penalty area, Mark McKenzie met it with a vicious shot that spun off a defender and left Seitz helpless. 

The match ended 2-2, and the result propelled Philly into the playoffs for the third season in a row. 

The Union continue hunting a home playoff game on October 19 when they face off with New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17.

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