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Sunday Morning Game Changers: Hitting the Marquez

A day early, but we are getting the jump on all of the upcoming fixtures as we look back on the Philadelphia Union's win over D.C. United.

Philadelphia Union vs DC United Gallery
The Philadelphia Union's Richie Marquez celebrates the game-winning goal against D.C.United.
Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

No Nogueira, no party - Vincent Nogueira was a late scratch with an strain to his left oblique muscle, leaving the Union to rely on Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle in the midfield. This defensive-minded lineup meant that the Union were going to have to convert their offensive opportunities if they were going to come out of the match with a win. The filp side of that is that the Union weren't going to give up many opportunities to D.C. United - in fact, Andre Blake only faced two shots on the evening.

Fabinho in the way - While normally known for his offensive contributions, Fabinho contributed defensively early on in the match with a solid block in the fourth minute on Luciano Acosta. Acosta had spun Fabinho around while driving in but took far too long lining up the shot on goal.

Warren Creavalle, shot stopper - In the twelfth minute, D.C. United had a decent chance on goal from a set piece. A United throw-in deep in Union territory rattled around the box before coming to Luciano Acosta, who shot right into Warren Creavalle. Creavalle drew his arms within his frame as the ball was headed straight for his stomach. Referee Jaime Herrera had a clear view of the incident and waved the play on, determining (correctly) that Creavalle had not intentionally handled the ball.

Barnetta hits the post - Tranquillo Barnetta has been deadly on set pieces, and he almost hit paydirt early in the match. In the 27th minute, Fabinho was hauled down by Patrick Nyarko out on the left flank. Barnetta stepped up and took the kick - a curling shot that went past everyone and bounced off of the far post and out.

Richie Marquez had a good run at the ball but couldn't get to it in time to re-direct it into the goal. Travis Worra stood zero chance of stopping either the free kick or the potential Marquez rebound, and it's a bit unlucky the Union weren't up 1-0 here.

Oh Le Toux - In the 50th minute, the Union had another good chance at goal when Fabinho put a shot straight at Travis Worra. Worra parried the shot straight to Sebastien Le Toux, and this happened.

The best bet would have been for Le Toux to strike the ball with his left foot instead of trying to settle it, but it's much easier to see that in hindsight instead of in the heat of the moment. Fair play to Worra for making the initial save as well as clearing out the rebound. That's definitely one Seba will want back though.

Blake bails out the Union - This is world class.

For Blake to be able to stop that bicycle kick at that range is nothing short of amazing.

No worries for D.C. thanks to Worra - Worra had a string of huge saves to help preserve the scoreless draw. The Lancaster native will probably lose his starting position to Bill Hamid once Hamid's knee injury heals properly, but Worra's performance against the Union (and most other club's he's faced this season) will make Ben Olsen's decision all the more difficult.

Marquez makes the difference - As the match drew closer to the close, the Union kept applying pressure, and D.C. United was able to stave off the attacks into stoppage time until this happened.

Sebastien Le Toux's cross was inch-perfect and redeemed him for his miss earlier in the match. Marquez did well to slot the ball home and snatch victory from the jaws of a bore draw, but look at CJ Sapong go up for the header. I still can't tell if he had a shot at reaching the ball or not, but it made Worra hesitate a split-second - and sometimes that's all you need.