The Philadelphia Union lost 1-0 to D.C. United at home Saturday night. The loss came after a protracted break and the resignation of Union manager Peter Nowak. Under new manager and former coach, John Hackworth, the Union dominated much of the play but ultimately fell on a free kick by Branko Boscovic that was tapped in for a goal by Chris Pontius.
The game saw some changes by the Union. They started a 4-3-3 formation with Jack McInerney making a rare start at forward. Amobi Okugo started at center back, a position he has played with U-23 national team. The Union dominated the stats by leading in shots, corner kicks, duels won, open play crosses, passes and possession. They were ultimately undone by a lack of finishing. However, the increased offensive pressure and shots were a positive sign. New forward Jorge Perlaza got some playing time as a second half substitute.
Luck, or just questionable officiating, played a factor in the D.C. United goal. The free kick was the result of a arguably clean challenge by Union defender Carlos Valdes on Pontius that was called a foul. Valdes was also shown a yellow card. Valdes did get part of the ball, and Pontius simply tripped over the top of him. However unlucky, the Union need to get more from their own corner kicks and other set pieces.
Despite concerns about attendance in the wake of Nowak’s dismissal and team’s poor record, the game was sold out, with few visible empty seats. This should not been much of a surprise, as D.C. games usually sell fairly well. The Screaming Eagles were out in force and gave the Sons of Ben a run for their money in the noise generated department. Hopefully, the Union will take the fan support and other positives from this game forward into their game with Sporting Kansas City next weekend.
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