MLS- Philadelphia Union

Le Toux, Farfan lead Union past D.C. United

SebaLeToux (Getty)


CHESTER, Pa.–In the ever-changing Eastern Conference playoff race, the Philadelphia Union have become the latest team to post a statement win.

A night after Sporting Kansas City made their intentions of winning the East clear with a 2-1 win over Columbus, the Union responded by defeating bitter rivals D.C. United, 3-2, at PPL Park on Thursday night.

The victory moved Philadelphia into second place in the Eastern Conference, just a point behind first-place Sporting KC with a game in hand.

Sebastien Le Toux kept his hot streak going, scoring two goals in the first fifteen minutes, to make it nine goals in eight games. He shared the spotlight on this night with rookie Michael Farfan, who set up Le Toux's second goal before delivering his own amazing game-winning goal in the second half.

Philadelphia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Le Toux's two goals, but D.C. did well to battle back. In the 22nd minute, Dwayne De Rosario found space on an Austin da Luz cross and scored to continue his own hot form as of late. It was his 14th goal of the year, good for the league lead in scoring. In the 30th minute, Andy Najar received an outlet pass from Bill Hamid and took the ball the length of the field before beating Zac MacMath at his near post to tie the game at two goals apiece.

After going into the locker rooms tied, Union coach Peter Nowak decided to shake things up by bringing on Justin Mapp for Amobi Okugo to start the second half. The team controlled more of the ball and in the 57th minute, Michael Farfan took matters into his own hands. He made a slalom run down the right flank and hurdled over sliding D.C. defender Ethan White before burying the ball in the back of the net to give the Union a 3-2 lead.

"I made a little run and got a lob pass from Roger (Torres). They gave me a big amount of space, so I just took a shot," Farfan said.

Even as Ben Olsen brought on Blake Brettschneider and Santino Quaranta in an attempt to equalize the game, the Union held on for the 3-2 win, which moved them into second place in the Eastern Conference. They now sit one point behind Sporting Kansas City, but the Union have a game in hand. D.C., meanwhile, remained one point behind New York for the tenth and final playoff spot.

Nowak displayed his pleasure with his team's performance in his post-match press conference. "Three points are massive in this kind of competition," he said. "The group believed from the beginning that we could win the game because the intensity was very good. The pressure was there, the spacing was very good; I think it was massive."

The win puts the Union in position to make a late run to win the Eastern Conference. After going winless in nine games, Philadelphia has now rattled off seven points in its last three games, all against other top contenders in the East.

"We talked about trying to come out fast and get an early start and get the first goal, and we accomplished that," Union midfielder Brian Carroll said. "Unfortunately we let them back in the game, but we stayed focused and we stayed together. We showed some character in pulling out the one-goal victory."

The loss put D.C.'s playoff hopes back in jeopardy after they had just recorded a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

"We came out on the short end, and overall we probably deserved to come out on the short end," Olsen said. "Le Toux is a handful; he causes so many issues with how busy he runs and we were naive in a lot of our defending.

"All three goals were just very schoolboy mistakes," Olsen said. "They were just bad mistakes, and they're good enough to capitalize on them."

Dwayne DeRosario scored his MLS-leading 14th goal of the season in the first half, but was forced to leave the match in the 61st minute with an injury.

"He took a knock to the knee," Olsen said of DeRosario's injury. "He wasn't 100 percent; I think he'll be okay, it was just a knock, not a sprain or ligaments. We'll just get some ice on him and get him ready for Sunday."

The game was marked by the spectacular play of rookie Michael Farfan. The North Carolina grad, who was one of the nation's best players in college but slipped to the second round in this year's SuperDraft, put on what may have been a true breakout performance. He was also very much responsible for Andy Najar's equalizing goal, but he made a point of redeeming himself in the second half.

"Obviously you don't like to make mistakes like that, so I was trying my hardest to help the team as much as I could," Farfan said after the game. He felt that once he was moved to the midfield after playing at left back, he was able to shine. "I've played there my whole life. I feel a lot more comfortable in the midfield, more settled," he said.

The Union will look to continue their three-game unbeaten run on Sunday when they travel to California to take on Chivas USA. D.C. United will look to get back into playoff position on Sunday in a crucial game in Columbus against the third-place Crew.

  • Eric

    So, Le Toux has a green card and has said he wants to play for the US national team. Anyone else think it might be worth capping him as soon as he finishes getting full citizenship?


  • rafavic

    Le Toux picked the right time to get hot but the back 4 have got to do better going down the stretch to stay in the top three. Adu has really gotta be hurt as he had several chances to take off but looked hesitant. Was Mwanga hurt or is he really in Nowak’s doghouse?


  • pd

    I think that by the time it would be all systems go he’d be in this 30’s, it’s a little more complicated… Either way I
    say go for it.


  • Pete Wilson

    Adu has yet to really look good to me. I think Torres has been outshining him in every game. Seems to be lacking that last little bit of zip to his play. And will someone PLEASE tell me how/why Paunovic plays as much as he does?


  • Moe

    Philly is loaded with young attacking talent if their subs are Mapp, Adu and Nakazawa, and they didn’t even use McInerney or Mwanga.

    But my MOTM was Michael Farfan, with a goal worthy of winning any game after a lovely chip pass to set up Philly’s 2nd goal.

    And yet the best goal of the game, and the certain goal of the week in MLS, came from Najar.

    Throw in the wily veterans DeRo and LeToux, and it was quite a show for us neutrals, in a nice setting.


  • Brian

    The Farfan Bros are pretty damn good. I was a little surprised when I found out they were American. I think they will be US national team players someday.


  • Joey Samuel

    Yep, they’re California born and raised, but they’re of Mexican heritage. Not sure whether they’d be potentially eligible to play for Mexico, but I’d bet they feel 100% American. They’ve played for U.S. youth teams under current Union assistant coach John Hackworth.


  • primoone

    Farfan is a F-cking Menace coming in from the right.

    Farfan Bros could be the first twing pairing for the National team at the senior level.


  • SuperChivo

    What a fun match and a great pairing. I would put money on both these teams, and especially Philly, leading the East next season. They both ooze with young talent and much of it is American.


  • JD

    Nothing about how Le Toux was offsides on the first goal. Bravo Mr. Ives. Were you watching the game?


  • DC Josh

    Ethan White had the game of his life… for Philadelphia. DC United is just too young to make a serious run for the playoffs. Lack of concentration has led to inconsistency, which has led to a lot of dropped points.

    Still, we have 2 games in hand, and should finish the season with at least 9 more points. I would love a playoff game with cool October air at RFK.


  • DC Josh

    He dribbled from box to box uncontested and beat one man. Bad defending by Philly, just like DC on Farfan’s goal.


  • kimo

    Le Toux…a true professional. A great work rate and a very intelligent player. With a bit more athleticism and pace, he’d be really special.

    During the last 10 minutes of the game, Adu was dying to play Le Toux through as DC was pushing for the equalizer. On 2 occasions, Adu slotted the ball through and 1) Le Toux was outpaced and 2) he was dubiously called off-sides, but was a bit too slow footed to take advantage anyway. I realize that PN wanted to keep his most experienced players in at the end to hold onto the 3 pts, but I think a speedy striker could have killed off the game as DC was pushing way up the pitch.


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    I really like Le Toux and think he is a hell of a player, but I’m not sure he’s USMNT quality. That said, he’s versatile, works very hard and is he worse than Bunbury or Beasley? Maybe…


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    @Josh Truth. No one on Philly really challenged Najar until it was way too late. Nonetheless, he deserves credit for taking his chance well.


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    Adu has yet to make any kind of positive impact and Torres has been far, far better. I think Paunovic played so much b/c Mwanga is injured. That said, I don’t know why they play him when Mwanga is healthy. Fair points.


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    No one has mentioned Amoebi Okugo and I thought he had his best game of the season last night. I don’t know why he was removed at the half b/c he was doing a great job at both ends of the field. Hopefully last night was a sign of his development as an offensive player b/c that would give Philly a strong MF with Carroll, Farfan(s) and Torres. Anyone else like Okugo last night?


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    Farfans are great going forward and they do an okay job defensively. They struggle against guys with top-class speed. This year they’ve had a tough job with Oduro and Kamara and Najar ran away from them last night when he scored. That’s the real weakness. Other than that, they are great: wonderful dribbling/footwork, good touch on ball, smart and (as it appears) they can shoot.


  • crosswiredmind

    Absolutely nothing because he wasn’t. Look at the replay on ESPN. He is even with the defender. Their computer generated line shows it very clearly.


  • kimo

    Agreed with the above poster re Adu in terms of lacking spark. Clearly, his foot skills and vision are on display at times. However, he lacks consistency.

    To me, and I’ve watched him since his early DC years…he was at his best with the U20s when he was given full reign to control the game. And, he was very fit. He had a ton of energy and was able to compete at a high level for 90 mins.

    The Adu that I see now and have been watching for the last couple of years looks heavy legged. For the most part, he simply can’t compete at a high level for 90 mins. At this point, he’s nothing more than a highly skilled complementary player.


  • Thomas513

    As a neutral, this was a great game – great goals, lots of attacking talent on display, and a noticeable lack of attention given to the referee. The East has put out some serious entertainment this week with Sporting v. Crew and Philly v. DCU.


  • Earl

    I think Okugo came out because Nowak was chasing 3 points. I think he felt Mapp could prosper on the left, and he did barring his final touches, which were as mediocre as usual. I think Nowak was also trying to manage fitness, thus bringing off Sheanon Williams instead of a more attacking player like Paunovic. I think Paunovic or Farfan come off for Nakazawa if Williams was 100%.


  • dan c

    i thought okugo played great as well. his vision and passing is fantastic, though he does tend to leave his feet a little to often. I told my kids last night that he will be a full NT player in a few years, the kid just oozes potential


  • biff

    Watched the highlights on u-toob and Bill Hamid after each Philly goal was screaming angrily at his defenders. Is that normal for him? Even if justified, seems like a sure recipe to pi** off your teammates, especially when you are a 20-year-old youngster prone to making a mistake yourself now and then–such as slamming full blast into a forward outside the box and collecting a red card. It would be pretty weird to see Hamid finally put in a USMNT game and then see him yelling at Boca or Dolo…


  • Mario in QT

    I agree, he appears to be a bit too slow to react to the develpoing play. I was at the game and while he can handle the ball and has great vision of what he wants to do he just keeps coming up a bit short.


  • Mario jn QT

    As a Union fan my observation last night was that the M Farfan goal was as much the fault of the midfielders. Farfan came through that midfield untouched. Centerbacks had no chance to stop his shot as there was plenty of room. On the first two goals the centerbacks were pushing way up. Is the coach unaware of LeToux and his speed? If you have two slow centerbacks, can you afford to push that far up?


  • McNulty SOB

    OOOOHHHH…Le Toux, Le Toux,
    He’s Frencher than me and you,
    He’ll score us a goal, or two, OR THREE!
    Oh, Le Toux, Le Toux!!


  • crosswiredmind

    He came on in the second half. It’s pretty clear he is still recovering from an injury and regaining his form. He seemed a bit off last night.


  • Ski Fast!

    Adu still seems to be so hesitant when taking on a defender 1v1. It’s frustrating watching with slow up his run as he approaches a defender without much of an idea to simply make a couple of quick touches to get around the defender.


  • Tim

    US Mint quality? Lol. Le Toux is more of a scorer than anybody on the team except for Donovan and Dempsey. The European Klinsmann should bring this guy in.


  • Andy

    I still dont understand why Migliorazi and Carroll start over this guy. Okugo served up some beautiful balls.


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