Recapping Philadelphia Union’s preseason opener against DC United


The Union’s first preseason game was a closed-door affair against DC United. It was the first competitive chance for players to prove themselves to the coaches. This match produced some fireworks, and a lot of talking points presented themselves on players, as the Union move forward with preseason!

because of the closed-door affair, there was no stream of the game online. The only up to the minute details, were tweeted out by Steven Streff, a writer for .

The Union’s starting lineup versus DC was: Cardona, Fabinho, Marquez, Onyewu, Gaddis, Herbers, Creavalle, Jones, Ilson Jr., Alberg and Sapong.

The Union went with the experienced outside backs, and paired Onyewu with Marquez in the center of defense. These four had a decent game. Marquez and Gaddis had a solid game. Fabinho did get burnt on the outside once, but had  a decent game other than that instance. Then there was Onyewu, he was playing well until one altercation.

Onyewu and DC’s Patrick Mullins apparently had an off the ball interaction, which resulted in Onyewu being sent off! He’s not the only Union player to be set off in a preseason game; last preseason Ilson Jr. was sent off for pick a fight with Red Bull players. Onyewu joins him, as the only Union players to get sent off in their debut’s. Since this is preseason, the Union were allowed to bring on another player to replace Gooch; the Union chose Ken Tribbett.

The Union broke the deadlock in the first half.

DC couldn’t  clear a corner, and a bouncing second ball found its way to Sapong, he blasted a shot into the net to give the Union the lead. The rest of the Union’s starters names were not mentioned much. with 15 minutes left in the first half Charlie Davies came on, for the goal scorer, Sapong, As usual in preseason matches, an entire new squad, except for Davies, Tribbett, and Cardona, were on for the Union. Unfortunately, It was hard to tell who was on the field for the Union.

The only players that were ID’d by Streff were: Rosenberry, Wijnaldum, and Simpson (who came on for Davies). The second half saw a familiar face on the field for DC. Sebastien Le Toux played the second half for United. This match was the first for Seba, against the Union, since being traded last July. In the second half, DC United equalized. Both teams players spent the rest of the match trying to brush off rust to give their team the lead. The game eventually ended with a 1-1 draw. But who were the players that featured in the second half that couldn’t be identified?

Starting at the balkline, we know that Tribbett, Rosenberry and Wijnaldum were there. The other two players could have been Yaro, and draft pick Jack Elliot. I’d assume they gave Yaro minutes, since Elliot could have also played central midfield.

The central midfielders could have been a host of players. I think the combination of Carroll, and Elliot makes sense based on who was left on the roster. The wingers were probably Draftee Epps, and Ayuk. The number 10 was hopefully Najem. All of these changes occurred, but one position did not change, that was the goalkeeper position.

This clip shows Cardona making a good save in his debut for the Union. The Indy 11 keeper, was a surprise addition to the squad, he could be the third keeper the Union need. Since Cardona is still an Indy 11 player, a transfer fee would have to be paid for him. If he keeps playing well in preseason matches, against good MLS opposition, I’m sure the Union will try to sign him.

This match was a fun, and eventful start to Union preseason games. The next Union preseason games are as follows:

Phase 2:
US Youth National Team ???
Chicago Fire Thursday Feb 9th  TBD

Phase 3:
Orlando. Wednesday Feb. 15th 1 PM

Suncoast invitational:
Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday Feb. 18th 7:30 PM
Montreal Wednesday Feb 22nd 7 PM
Dc United Saturday Feb 25th 5 PM

The Union are going to be busy training twice a day, and playing preseason games, throughout February. Once Medunjanin and Picault join camp, and the Union are at full strength, they will start to gain some momentum leading into the season opener. These are exciting times, and the Union are starting to get fit!

Come back to Philly Sports Network for more analysis on preseason form and games that are coming up! Until then, peace out Union fans!


Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports