Philadelphia Union doubled the amount of goal scorers for the season in Saturday night, defeating D.C. United 4-0 at RFK stadium.
Before Saturday, forward C.J. Sapong (7), midfielder Roland Alberg (2), forward Jay Simpson (1), and defender Richard Marquez (1) were the only players to score for the Union this season. But in the 4-0 victory over United, Haris Medunjain, Oguchi Onyewu, Fafa Picault, and Fabian Herbers added their names to that list.
“They scored some pretty good goals tonight,” defender Taylor Kemp said. “We have to find a bit better possession when we are down. They dropped off at times. We could have kept the ball. We gave it away in some bad spots. We have to look ourselves in the mirror.”
D.C. United was able to avoid their recent pattern of slow starts, but still conceded the first goal. United has been shut out four out of the six home games this season.
“That is concerning for sure,” Kemp said. “Some of it we have had a rotating cast up there, but that still shouldn’t happen at the magnitude that it is. It is not just a forward … it is a team-wide problem.”
Philadelphia collected two impressive, outside-the-box goals from over 20 yards out against United. In fact, Medunjanin’s goal in the first half came from more than 35-yards away from goalkeeper Bill Hamid and the net.
The play that changed the pace of the game, though, was not a goal, but a foul. Down 1-0 in the 55th minute, Luciano Acosta kicked Union’s Ilsinho’s legs from under him. The referee immediately showed the five-foot-three Argentinian a red card, which forced United to play down a man for the remaining 35 minutes. Olsen was not happy with much of the refereeing on the night.
“ I didn’t think [referee Chris Penso] had a pulse of the game,” Olsen said. “I thought he was very inconsistent and that can lead to frustration. … It’s not an excuse for [Acosta] to wack a guy.”
United struggled in the final third all night, failing to connect on several crosses. Unable to find an equalizer, United settled back into the defensive mode. Before the match was over Onyewu, Picaut, and Herbers all notched goals against the limping United team.
“The red card hurt us,” captain defender Steven Birnbaum said. “Obviously, it changed the whole game. We were chasing the game at that point. It is hard to overcome that deficit.”
One bright spot for United came in the 53rd minute, before the red card, when defender Chris Korb entered the field. Korb suited up in the United jersey for the first time since 2015 after a season-ending knee injury that kept him from the team. Despite the loss, Korb was happy to take “the first step to getting back to where [he] was.”
“A little nervousness, but also excitement. It has been twenty months of hard work,” Korb said. “It’s tough. That’s not how you want to come back. Your comeback after almost two years. You imagine it over and over and that’s really not how I wanted it to go.”
The RFK crowd reached it’s peak volume during the match, cheering the defender back onto the field.
“I wish I could have took in the moment more,” Korb said. “But just had to remember what I had to do and just help the team.”
Korb collected a small victory in an otherwise winless night for United. D.C. resumes practice this week, looking to erase the bad memory of Saturday’s match and move forward preparing for next week against Chicago.
“I’m not concerned. We have three or four guys out. We have a good portion of the season left,” Olsen said. “I’ll let you know when it is panic time. We are certainly far off from that time.”
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