Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin utilized both lineup and tactical changes during a heavily lob-sided Union win Saturday night. Goals from Kacper Przybylko, Ilsinho, and Brenden Aaronson powered Philadelphia past their rivals.
Good teams find ways to respond after disappointing losses. That’s exactly what the Philadelphia Union did Saturday night when they dismantled DC United for the second time this season.
Union fans know all about the shellacking they handed DC a few weeks back at Audi Field. It was more of the same Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.
Philadelphia came out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a change to their normal 4-4-2 diamond look. Kacper was up top alone with Brenden Aaronson, Jamiro Monteiro, and Ilsinho behind him.
DC, playing without the suspended Wayne Rooney, looked flat from the opening whistle and Philadelphia took advantage early one. Kacper Przybylko continued his great run of form and made immediate impacts with a 5th-minute goal.
Kai Wagner made an overlapping run along the left-wing after passing to Aaronson in transition. Aaronson returned a pass to Wagner before he sent a cross toward the near post. Kacper darted toward the spot and managed to get enough on the ball to direct it off the woodwork and into the back of the net.
Kacper netted his 12th goal of the year and his eighth in his last 11 matches. But he wasn’t done.
11 minutes later, Kacper created Philadelphia’s second goal of the night. Kacper tip-toed passed his man in the attacking half before finding Aaronson sandwiched between both DC center backs. With his back to goal, Aaronson fielded the pass in an onside position, quickly turned and faced goal, picked his head up, and calmly finished the chance for his second career MLS goal.
Kacper still wasn’t done making impacts though.
20 minutes after Aaronson’s tally, Kacper created a goal for Ilsinho. Ilsinho inched forward toward DC’s box and into the space granting to him by DC’s backline. Kacper found Ilsinho who took a few dribbles toward goal, danced his way past his man and released a shot that found twine and Philadelphia were up 3-0 before the 40-minute mark.
Halftime couldn’t come soon enough for DC and Philadelphia walked off the pitch to a standing ovation from Philly fans throughout Talen Energy Stadium. In what was promised to be a match filled with playoff intensity, Philadelphia overpowered DC early and never looked back.
Despite not scoring, in the second half, Philadelphia displayed some very effective game management skills by dealing with whatever pressure DC mustered up. The veteran midfield duo of Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin directed play with ease to handle and maintain the lead.
But DC did manage to strike a goal for themselves. During the 56th minute, Luciano Acosta basically created a goal for himself. He managed to squeeze through Ray Gaddis and Jack Elliot before slotting home a ball past the oncoming Andre Blake.
But that was all DC could create.
Philadelphia ended out the match without any major hiccups or hassles. Some of the passing was sloppy as the match wore on, but there were no major blunders from Curtin’s group.
A pair of Philadelphia substitutions in both the 70th and 74th minute helped as well. Marco Fabian spelled Ilsinho first and Fafa then came on for Aaronson shortly after. Both Fabian and Fafa managed to challenge a tired DC midfield and backline.
Lucas Rodriguez was thrown on for Felipe as a final push to create some DC offense, but ultimately the effort failed and Philadelphia exited the night with an impressive 3-1 win.
Atlanta United FC will be the next test for Philly at home next weekend in a battle for first place in Eastern Conference. Curtin and his group will hope to keep the momentum up moving forward.
- Alejandro Bedoya picked up a yellow card in the 73rd minute of action. He is now suspended and will miss the match vs Atlanta United due to yellow card accumulation.
- Brenden Aaronson, Ilsinho, and Mark McKenzie returned to the starting XI and excelled on the pitch. All three made major positive impacts on the night.
- Kacper remains HOT. It’s starting to become more and more obvious that Kacper is the spark plug for this group. If he’s in good form, good things happen.
- Ray Gaddis completed his 200th career match – ALL with Philadelphia. What an accomplishment for such a deserving player. And he was very active all night even aiding in some offensive chances throughout.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Graduate of Pennsylvania State University ’16. Interests include sports and history. Follow on twitter for Philly sports news – @MMcClain_PSN
Philadelphia Union writer.