On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union faced off against Wayne Rooney and DC United as they looked to win their fourth consecutive match in the MLS. The Boys in Blue were returning back to Subaru Park from their long road trip, where they traveled to face LAFC, the New York Red Bulls, Minnesota United, and the Colorado Rapids.
Jim Curtin’s side last played in Colorado on Saturday, where they defeated the home team by a score of 2-1. But even though the club was in good form in the MLS, they were not able to get much of anything going against DC United, drawing 0-0 to their rival.
Christmas Tree Formation
For the third time in three games, Union manager Jim Curtin decided to change things up and run with a different formation. In the match against Minnesota United, Curtin used his normal 4-1-2-1-2, while in the match against Colorado, the manager switched it up to a 3-5-2 formation. But for the match against DC United, Curtin decided to run with a 4-3-2-1 formation, which could also be known as a Christmas tree.
There were three different players coming into the lineup, with Nathan Harriel replacing Olivier Mbaizo, Joaquin Torres replacing Jack McGlynn and Matt Real replacing Damion Lowe. With these changes, the Union starting XI went as follows: Blake, Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Harriel, Real, Flach, Bedoya, Gazdag, Torres, and Carranza. Usual starters Mikael Uhre and Jose Martinez would make the bench, as they looked to return from injuries.
Forgettable First Half
For the majority of the first half, Philly did not seem to look like themselves at all. Besides an early goal that was called offside, DC United seemed to control a majority of the half. They had a lot of good opportunities to score, whereas if it was not for Andre Blake, the Union could have very well fallen behind in the match.
DC United’s best chance to score in the first half was with Theodore Ku-DiPietro in the 35th minute. An attempted clearance by Wagner fell right to the DC United man who looked like he had an easy goal, but Andre Blake was there to save the day. The first half ended with Philadelphia midfielder Joaquin Torres finding a wide-open net with the keeper out of his box, but Torres would end up shooting wide, which would cause the two teams to go into halftime with a 0-0 score.
Better Second Half, But Not Enough
The second-half performance by the Union was definitely one that showed improvement from the first. The home team had multiple chances to score but was not able to capitalize on any of them. The first chance for Philly came early on in the second half when Jack Elliott tried to take advantage of Tyler Miller leaving his net, but his long-range effort fell just wide.
The next chance for the Union fell to Matt Real, who received a wonderful cross from Alejandro Bedoya, but his header went just wide as well. The home side would have a few more good chances once Curtin made some substitutions, but the team would not capitalize, with the final being 0-0.
Kai Wagner Frustrated
Union LB Kai Wagner was interviewed after the game, and he showed his displeasure with the performance on the night, saying the following:
“It was not a good home game because everybody was just happy to finally be back home after a long stretch. It was a lot of games and a lot of travel for us, and finally, we are at home, and to play a game like this, I have no words.”Union Left Back, Kai Wagner
The team obviously did not play up to the standards that they know they should, and this was obvious in the words of Wagner.
Up Next for the Union
The Union will have short rest for their next match, as they take on the New England Revolution at Subaru Park on Saturday at 7:30 PM. The Revolution are coming off of a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami in their last match, but they are not a club that should be overlooked. The team is currently placed 2nd in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 7 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses. It will be yet another rivalry match for the Union, as they look to continue their unbeaten streak and climb higher up the table.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union