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Sun Turning Into Shade: D.C. United 1-0 Philadelphia Union

The Union's playoff prospects continue to fade away following a 1-0 loss to D.C. United on Saturday afternoon.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United came into this match in first place in the Eastern Conference and looking ahead toward the playoffs. The Union came into this match winless since their 6-point sweep of Toronto earlier this month. The first place team pretty easily disposed of the slumping fringe playoff team 1-0 thanks to an early goal enabling them to sit on the lead as the Union flailed about RFK Stadium for 90 minutes. To bullet points, ahoy!

  • The Philadelphia Union are at their best when they are counter-attacking team. The Union started playing that way but then the first half morphed into the second half and D.C. United decided to sit back and let the Union control possession in the second half. The second half result was a performance reminiscent of the Hackworth era where the Union would have possession but fail to deliver many scoring chances of any quality.
  • Sebastien Le Toux injured his ankle in the first half and had to be subbed out of the game for Danny Cruz. Not only did this negatively impact the Union's performance, but Le Toux's resurgence has been a key component in the Union making run at the playoffs this season. For both the sake of his health and the team's playoff chase, hopefully the injury is not serious.
  • Did the Union complete a pass in the final third today? The attack was very much out of sorts all afternoon long.
  • D.C. United's lone goal came off a failed Union clearance. Edu deflected Chris Korb's attempt but the ball went right back to Korb instead of away, and Korb took the opportunity to cross the ball to Luis Silva. Silva rose above everyone and headed it past a flat-footed Rais M'Bolhi to give D.C. a lead they'd never relinquish.
  • Carlos Valdes single-handedly kept the Union in this game in the first half. When a DCU break led to M'Bolhi coming off his line, Fabian Espindola easily slipped the ball past the Union keeper but Valdes made a diving clearance, only for the ball to come to Espindola who passed to Silva. Silva easily beat M'Bolhi but Valdes emerged from the net to clear that off the line as well. Without Valdes, the Union may have been absolute toast today.
  • This is not breaking any news or anything, but RFK Stadium is a horrible venue for just about everything. The sun-shadow contrast was so stark that it was virtually impossible to make out what was happening in the shade for most of the game.
  • The Union now find themselves in 7th place and three points behind 5th place New York Red Bulls and two points behind 6th place Toronto.
  • The Union have four matches left in the season to get back in the playoffs. Two matches against Columbus, one match against Sporting Kansas City, and their next one, a home game against the Chicago Fire. It may be at the point where if the Union do not win their next three matches, they may likely find themselves outside of the playoffs for a third straight season.