Kacper Przybylko scored for the first time since May to put the Philadelphia Union back into the win column after a mediocre three-game road trip and into second place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over DC United.
Despite a large number of absences from the attack and midfield, the Union didn’t look to hold back in their attack against D.C., as they forced strong counter after strong counter early in the first half.
It quickly paid off, as Sergio Santos found himself putting the ball past United keeper Bill Hamid in the 11th minute off a great pass from Daniel Gazdag, who was credited with the assist along with Alejandro Bedoya. Gazdag’s assist came on his third consecutive start for Philadelphia, this time in Jamiro Montiero’s No. 10 position during Monteiro’s one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Santos’ goal would hold the Union over past halftime until Santos himself nearly cost the Union the game. The Brazilian gifted D.C. a penalty kick after some sloppy defending in the penalty area. While third-string keeper Joe Bendik had a relatively strong match for the duration of the game, he wasn’t able to stop Yamil Asad’s penalty, and in the 51st minute D.C. was able to tie the game up at one goal apiece.
Just a few minutes later, Philadelphia nearly got their revenge, earning a PK off of what seemed to be a similar foul, this time going against Leon Flach near the edge of the box. However, as Kacper Przybylko prepared to take the shot, the call was reviewed by VAR, and for the first time of the evening, the replay went against the Union, and the kick was overturned.
Thirteen minutes later, Sergio Santos seemed to get his redemption for his poor tackle, tapping the ball into the box after a strong cross by Kai Wagner off of a corner kick. But for Santos, it simply wasn’t to be. After another VAR review, Santos was found offside and the Union was denied a possible second goal by VAR.
Santos’ night was not yet over. After receiving a lofted pass from Flach, Santos made a run down the right-hand side of the pitch, on a 2v1 with Kacper Przybylko. After getting around one defender in the box, Santos laid the ball off to a wide-open Przybylko, who placed it past Hamid, giving the Union the late-game lead.
Immediately following Przybylko’s goal, the inevitable finally happened with the referee whistling for play to be suspended because of lightning. After more than an hour of threatening lightning and rain, the game was placed on a severe weather delay in the 86th minute as both teams were sent into their lockers rooms and fans were sent into the concourse for the next two hours as officials waited for the weather to clear.
After the rain and weather eased up, nothing more came of the following nine minutes of play, and Saturday’s 7:38 kickoff finished at 11:28 as a 2-1 victory for the good guys. Philly earned their first win in four games, and pushed up to second place in the Eastern Conference, ahead of Orlando City SC.
The Union’s next match will come against Orlando on Thursday on a two-day Florida swing that includes Inter Miami on July 25.