The Philadelphia Union welcomed DC United to Subaru Park for a League’s Cup round of 32 matches. The goal for both teams was simple: win and move on. This game was underway under the bright lights of late summer in Philadelphia.
Good, Not Great in the First
The first half was good but not great for the Union. Many well-placed passes in the final third were left to be either claimed by DC or to roll out of bounds for goal kicks. The midfield pair of Jesus Bueno and Jose Martinez did well to aid both the defense and the attack in the first 45. The goalkeeping would keep the game level. A breakaway for DC forward Christian Benteke had all the makings of a goal for the visiting side. Three-time MLS goalkeeper of the year Andre Blake would make certain that would not be the case. As the fans took sighs of relief, the first half came to a scoreless end.
Bring on the Aggression
The second half would see the Union come out more aggressive, putting a lot of pressure on DC’s defense. United would make many mistakes in the transition, leading to solid opportunities for Philadelphia. The Union would come up empty. The match was truly a war of attrition, as it would get a bit chippy in the middle minutes of the half. The officials would calm the tension as the second half would come to a close, still scoreless.
With the League’s Cup, they employed the rule that if a match were tied at the end of regulation, it would be decided in a penalty kick shootout. Andre Blake would often be tested early, with Philadelphia fighting to chase DC. Blake’s pair of key saves would put the Union in a position to win the match and move on. With wing back Olivier Mbaizo over the spot, he camly put the shot through to give Philadelphia the 5-4 win in the shootout to advance into the round of 16.
It was a game of highs and lows for the Union as they failed to score for the first time in the tournament. The defense and goalkeeping were on display in a major way on Thursday night. From start to finish, this was a very highly contested match. Both teams played exceptionally well, but in the end, your Philadelphia Union got a big win and move on.