REPORT | Philadelphia Union 2-1 DC United
Sergio Santos was at the heart of all of the action as Philadelphia Union defeated DC United 2-1 at Subaru Park.
Santos scored, assisted and gave away a penalty as the Union defeated DC for the second time this season.
The Brazilian had given the Union the lead after just 11 minutes. Following a nice move, Daniel Gazdag managed to put him through on goal. Santos had no issues placing it past Bill Hamid in the United goal.
Santos was at the heart of the action once again as he fouled Yordy Reyna inside the box. The referee awarded a penalty, and Yamil Asad slotted the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner.
VAR ruled out a potential Union penalty and goal, but there was no ruling out Kacper Przybylko's goal in the final ten minutes. A long ball forward allowed Santos space in behind the DC defence. He did brilliantly working his way beyond the defender before laying it off to Przybylko to slot into the back of the net.
Jim Curtin made two enforced changes to his starting XI following the draw in New York. Joe Bendik and Sergio Santos came into the lineup in place of the suspended Matt Freese and Jamiro Monteiro. Ilsinho, despite a positive week of training, was not fit enough for the bench.
DC United came close to the first goal in the opening seconds. Jack Elliott's pass was a wayward one, and it went straight to a DC man. The visitor's forward cut the ball across the goal, but Adrien Perez could not get the crucial touch as he slid towards it at the back post.
Nigel Robertha had a great chance just moments later as DC continued to dominate the opening stages. Robertha managed to get into the area and have a shot at goal unchallenged. Fortunately for the Union, Jack Elliott was on hand to provide a vital block.
Sergio Santos gave the Union the lead in the 11th minute. A great counter-attack was started by smart footwork from Olivier Mbaizo. Alejandro Bedoya's pass forward was touched on by Daniel Gazdag into the path of Santos. The Brazilian forward got into the area and slotted it past Bill Hamid into the back of the net.
Santos almost made it two but was denied by a brilliant save from Hamid. Mbaizo's cross was pinpoint, and Santos was able to get a header away unchallenged. His effort from point-blank range looked destined for the back of the net, but Hamid did brilliantly to claw the ball away from danger.
In the 38th minute, Joe Bendik pulled off a magnificent save to keep the scores level. Yamil Asad managed to get a free shot inside the area, which seemed likely to end up in the back of the net. Bendik somehow got a strong hand on the ball to push it onto the crossbar as the Union had a lucky escape.
Benidk was called into action again a few minutes later, this time denying Julian Gressel. Gressel decided to shoot from distance, and his effort was a low drilled one towards the bottom corner. Bendik did well to get down to it and push it away from danger.
HALF-TIME: Philadelphia Union 1-0 DC United
DC United got back into the game shortly after half-time as Santos fouled substitute Yordy Reyna inside the penalty area. Santos tried to win the ball but could not get near the ball, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Asad calmly stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom corner as Bendik went the other way.
The Union thought they had a penalty of their own in the 54th minute. Leon Flach was tripped inside the box after getting to a loose ball first. The referee initially pointed to the spot and then the other way before again pointing to the spot. Having caused mass confusion, he was asked to check VAR, which ruled it was not a penalty.
Asad almost had his second of the game in the 60th minute. The Union lost possession around their penalty area once again, and Asad had the ball in space. He tried his luck from 25 yards, but it went just wide of the post.
Santos thought he had his second in the 70th minute. A corner into the box was flicked towards goal by Kacper Przybylko, and Santos was on hand from close range to knock it past Hamid. It appeared Santos had started in an offside position, so the referee checked with VAR. He felt that Santos was offside and interfered with play, thus ruling out the goal.
In the 83rd minute, the Union finally retook the lead through Przybylko. A long ball forward caught DC out as Santos used his pace to get in behind. He then did brilliantly to work it around the defender and pass it to Przybylko in acres of space, who slotted it into the back of the net as Hamid tried to scramble across the goal.
The goal celebrations were short-lived because the referee brought the game to a halt immediately after the goal due to lightning, causing a delay to the final few moments of the game.
After a length delay, the game got back under way and the Union were able to close the game out and win all three points.
FULL-TIME: Philadelphia 2-1 DC United
Philadelphia Union: Bendik, Mbaizo, Elliott, Glesnes, Wagner, Martinez, Bedoya, Flach, Gazdag, Przybylko, Santos (Sullivan 84')
Unused Substitutes: Ranjitsingh, Real, Findlay, Turner, McGlynn, Harriel, Aaronson, Collin
DC United: Hamid, Andy Najar, Tony Alfaro, Steven Birnbaum (Frederic Brillant 86'), Joseph Mora, Gressel, Junior Moreno, Canouse (Moses Nyeman 30'), Perez (Reyna 32'), Robertha (Griffin Yow 85'), Asad (Felipe 85')
Unused Substitutes: Seitz, Odoi-Atsem, Skundrich, Kempin