Staying in first place in either of Major League Soccer’s divisions is not easy, but D.C. United will enter June securely on top of the Eastern Conference after a 2-1 win over Philadelphia at RFK Stadium that showed the Black and Red’s resilience.
It did not start well for United. For the second consecutive game United conceded a goal in the first five minutes. Sebastian Le Toux rifled home a shot from 12-yards out on the right side of the box. The scoring sequence started on a wonderful through ball by Fernando Aristeguieta to Andrew Wenger who made a mazy run and played the ball to Le Toux.
After the opening goal United struggled with the Union’s low pressure and spent most of the first struggling to create the quick attacks necessary to unlock the defense. The United malaise continued until Taylor Kemp was given too much time and space on the left flank and delivered a perfect cross to Chris Pontius who headed home the equalizer in first half stoppage time.
United was better in the second half and in the 85th minute received the award in the form of goal on a Chris Rolfe penalty kick.
- Jairo Arrieta is a super sub. Arrieta came on in the 65th minute as a substitute for Conor Doyle and immediately made an impact. This is not to take anything away from Doyle who continues to work hard, impressed with his passing, but failed to take a shot. Arrieta provided the spark that unsettled the Union defense and helped create the forward progress that led to the game-winning penalty kick.
- Davy Arnaud is an unsung hero. In short Arnaud never stops working. He can be gritty, tough and disruptive. Arnaud has also has a good feel for the game and his vision ignites attacks. In the first half Arnaud’s commitment almost led to a penalty, but Maurice Edu pulled his arm just outside the penalty area. In the second half Arnaud’s pressure led to a turnover and then a delivered a curling shot from just outside of the box that just went wide to the right.
- Bill Hamid continues to be a rock. Hamid was called upon to make four saves and gave United a chance to win when he deniedFernando Aristeguieta from point blank range in the 60th minute.