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The Union Fall: D.C. United 2-2 Philadelphia Union

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It appeared the Union would escape RFK Stadium with three points until a stoppage time Steve Birnbaum goal ended those hopes.

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

It all seemed set up for the Philadelphia Union to walk away from RFK Stadium with three points. The Union were ahead by a goal entering the match's final minutes and United had been struggling to generate quality chances. But then they did, and while Andre Blake made some fine saves, one chance got in and that was all that was needed to take the three points away as the Union left RFK Stadium with only one point and a 2-2 draw.

The first major action of the match came in the 16th minute. An unfortunate turnover from Keegan Rosenberry led to Taylor Kemp dribbling down the pitch with the ball. Upon approaching Ken Tribbett, Kemp danced around him so much so that Tribbett managed neither a foul nor a tackle attempt. Tribbett's defensive failing led to Kemp getting an open shot at goal which he converted to put United up 1-0 early in the match.

In first half stoppage time the Philadelphia Union earned a free kick from distance, and Tranquillo Barnetta made the most of it. He powered through the ball with his right foot and with Bill Hamid a little slow to react, the ball had no problem finding the back of the net for a wonderstrike that evened the match at one heading into halftime.

The Union proceeded to begin the second half with a bang. Fabian Herbers played through Barnetta making an overlapping run. Barnetta played the ball to C.J. Sapong in front of goal but Sapong whiffed on the shot enabling a save from Hamid. The rebound went to Barnetta but he was unable to do anything with it other than give Hamid a goal kick. Given how the match turned out, it is probably safe to say the Union ultimately regretted not making more of this particular opportunity. They went on to get one when they needed two.

The one second half goal the Union did get came off a turnover. Ilsinho stripped Luciano Acosta of the ball and played through Chris Pontius. Pontius slotted the ball past Hamid to put the Union up 2-1. Given that he had just scored a goal against his former team putting them behind in the match, Pontius elected to not celebrate the goal out of respect for his former club. Celebration or not, though, the Union were ahead.

The game appeared to stagnate for the next 30 minutes or so, but then D.C. United began to push through great chance after great chance starting in the 90th minute. Acosta sent it in for Patrick Nyarko whose shot on goal went off the side netting to such a degree that both sets of local television commentary teams believed the ball to be in the net. It wasn't, though, and one minute later United had two more golden opportunities in rapid succession. Blake misplaying a corner kick led to the ball popping out to Kennedy Igboananike near the corner of the box. His quick shot was stopped by a diving Blake but the rebound went straight to Lamar Neagle. With Blake still on the ground, Neagle shot it but Blake succeeded in stretching out some more and prevented the ball from entering the net.

Blake's great save would not be the end of the match, unfortunately, and with a minute left in stoppage time United pounced on a game winner. Nyarko's long delivery into the box found its way to Steve Birnbaum who headed it past Blake and into the net by the far post to even the ledger, leaving both teams with a point for the match.

Despite needing a win tonight, the Philadelphia Union were unable to get it and their drop in the Eastern Conference standings continues, now 5th place in both total points and points per game in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia Union will hope to improve things and finally get only their second road win of the season next Saturday as they travel up to Foxborough to play the New England Revolution.