Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. DC United
Venue: PPL Park – Sunday, May 17th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Monday, May 18th)
Match Odds: Philadelphia Union 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – DC United 19/10
The Union have statistically been the worst side in MLS this season, other than Montreal Impact, as they sit one place above the bottom of both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.
Jim Curtin‘s side have also conceded more goals (21) than any other team – that’s seven more than the next worst defence, which is Houston who have let in 14.
Philadelphia’s most recent outing saw them comfortably swept aside in a 3-0 defeat away at the Vancouver Whitecaps, extending their run of consecutive defeats to four games – the Union have won just one of their opening 11 games (D3, L7).
The only points the Union have picked up in the last nine games came courtesy of a win and a draw in back-to-back games against fellow strugglers New York City.
By stark contrast, DC United’s start to the season has been excellent as six wins, three draws and one defeat from their opening ten games is enough to see them at the top of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.Embed from Getty Images
Ben Olsen will be delighted with how efficient the performances of his DC team have been, conceding fewer goals (8) than any other side so far, and they’re now unbeaten in their last eight games (W5, D3) with the most recent success a 2-1 victory at home to Orlando City last weekend.
Chris Rolfe has led the line well with three goals and three assists, but the key to DC’s success so far has been the overall team ethos as nine different players have already contributed to the 13 goals they’ve scored this season, showing that the load has been shared equally.
DC United won both of the games between these two sides in 2014 by a 1-0 scoreline. Philadelphia’s most recent victory over DC was a 2-0 win back in August 2013.
Philadelphia Union are suffering with a very long list of absentees which only adds to their ongoing problems. Rookie Richie Marquez will miss the game through suspension following his red card against Vancouver. Steven Vitoria is struggling with a knee injury and loanee goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre is likely to deputise in goal once again as John McCarthy continues his recovery from concussion. Fernando Aristeguieta (international duty), Andre Blake (knee) and Mike Lahoud (leg) are all unavailable, while C. J. Sapong remains out for non-footballing reasons. Antoine Hoppenot (hamstring) and Fred (hamstring) are also doubts.
DC United will be without the injured Steve Birnbaum, Collin Martin and Markus Halsti. Forward Fabian Espindola missed the Orlando game with a slight knee problem but could return to the squad for this clash.
Philadelphia Union’s last five: D/L/L/L/L
DC United’s last five: D/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: Philadelphia Union have won just two of their last 18 games in MLS (D6, L10) combining the end of the 2014 with start of the 2015 season.
Key Player: Perry Kitchen – The 23-year-old hasn’t missed a single minute of the MLS season so far and has been a vital component in the DC United machine at the heart of the midfield. His performances are one of the reasons that DC have been so hard to break down.
Philadelphia Union 0-1 DC United – DC United will expect to win this one against a Philadelphia side that are struggling at the moment with both casualties and form. It’s tough to see any other outcome than a DC victory.