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Philadelphia Union 3, D.C. United 2: A Look Back

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Advantage, new guys.

Major League Soccer's freshest regional rivalry produced a riveting first chapter, with the expansion Philadelphia Union securing its first-ever win with a 3-2 result over league stalwart D.C. United Saturday night.

Sebastien Le Toux's goal off an 80th-minute free kick snapped a 2-2 tie and completed his hat trick, as the Union resembled nothing like the team that crumbled at Seattle on the season's opening night.

Instead, playing in front of 34,870 raucous supporters, the Union played like its name – a cohesive, confident unit that showed it was capable of coming up with creative touches and dangerous runs in building a promising attack.

"We looked like we had a little bit more cohesiveness than people have thought or realized that we had," said assistant John Hackworth, who stepped in as the team's head coach for the night. Peter Nowak was at the match but watched from the coaching booth; He had a strong connection to some of the victims of the tragic plane crash in Poland and paid his respects by not working the match.

"In the end we had great resolve, because we ended up gifting them two goals and somehow dug back, found a third and walked away with three points," Hackworth said.

It wasn't all roses for the home team, as Hackworth alluded. Without Le Toux's final tally everyone might be talking about how Philadelphia squandered points at home on a horrific gaffe by keeper Chris Seitz that allowed Jaime Moreno to level the score at 2-all in the 69th minute.

While Seitz was preparing to punt away the ball, Moreno stuck by his side and distracted the keeper enough to have him drop the ball by mistake. The league's all-time leading scorer pounced on the opportunity, sliding the easiest of shots into the back of the net and breathing temporary life into D.C. United.

"I was looking to play it early, and there weren't too many options, so I held on to it and let the guys get up," Seitz said. "(Moreno) took a nudge at me as I was about to kick the ball, and I got caught. It happens. Sebastien stepped up, and I'm glad he came through for us. I really appreciate it."

Le Toux's free kick and third goal was set up by a Dejan Jakovic foul that drew a red card just outside the penalty area. The D.C. centerback got tangled with Union striker Alejandro Moreno as the ball bounced over both of them into the edge of the area, and referee Terry Vaughn ruled that not only did Jakovic commit the foul, but that Moreno would've had a clear path on goal.

Both players had different recollections of the game's turning point.

"He hooked me a little bit," Jakovic said. "I felt that there's a lot worse fouls in the game than that one. I put my hand on him for two seconds, not really pulling or anything."

Said Moreno: "I just turned him and spinned (sic) him, and as I was going to goal he grabbed me from behind. I knew I didn't have a clear opportunity at that point, so I was just able to draw the foul." 

Le Toux stepped up and confidently blasted a shot through the left side of the D.C. wall into an opening in the D.C. goal for the game-winner.

"I know that with this ball it is very quick, and the ball goes very fast, and I just saw the little hole and I shot the ball as strong as I could," Le Toux said. "The keeper was surprised."

Most in attendance were surprised at the offensive efficiency Philadelphia showed in the first half. At the four-minute mark Le Toux headed home a cross from Roger Torres, who impressed with his touch, speed and ability to create on his own on the right flank.

Le Toux displayed a great finishing touch on a counterattacking breakaway in the 40th minute, running onto a gorgeous through ball from Moreno in stride, fending off a defender and tucking a low shot from the top of the area past Troy Perkins. The play followed a clearance off a United corner.

"We're pretty dynamic," Moreno said of the Union's striker tandem. "I knew that once I got it past the defender, Sebastien would have a clear road going to the goal. He did very well with finishing that opportunity."

D.C., meanwhile, struggled aside from the six-minute stretch in which Santino Quaranta and Jaime Moreno scored the team's first two goals of the season.

Newcomer Danny Allsopp started aside Chris Pontius and looked out of sync. His only scoring threat came at the end of the first half, when his header off a Cristian Castillo cross went high. Moreno came on for Castillo at halftime, and Pontius shifted back to left midfield with United already down two goals.

"We knew they would bring enormous energy," D.C. coach Curt Onalfo said. "We knew it was going to be an intense opening part of the game, and I'm really disappointed we gave up a goal there early and then conceded off of our attacking corner. We dug ourselves a major hole."

D.C. (0-3-0) already has a hole to climb out of in anticipation of Saturday's home game against Chicago.

Jakovic will miss the game because of the red-card suspension, and the team's second starting centerback, Juan Manuel Pena, may not play after exiting against Philadelphia with a 15th-minute hamstring injury. That's not exactly an ideal situation when facing a striker tandem of Brian McBride and Collins John.

"We have to go back to work and figure out what's happening," Jaime Moreno said.

The Union (1-1-0) will head north of the border to take on Toronto F.C. on Thursday, riding the momentum of the organization's first victory over its rival for years to come.

"What a wonderful gift that the team has given to the city that has supported us tremendously as we started our franchise," Hackworth said.


  1. Was at the game. Great time. Thanks to the dcu fans who showed up and added to the fun — minus the few knuckleheads who threw beer on the folks below.

  2. Could it be that wiley ol’ vetern Moreno came up close to young keeper Seitz, who was looking downfield, and yelled: “Hey, you’re over the line!!”, causing Seitz to immediately drop the ball? That would explain Moreno’s ear to ear smile just after the his goal.

  3. Jack the Mac looked very poised out there. Baby-faced, but mature in his positions and decisions. He may just become the next young great US player after Jozy. In the first game against Seattle, I thought Mwanga was just the opposite: hesitant and slow moving…out of position.

  4. As a DC United supporter, I’d really prefer to NOT look back, thank you.

    Having said that: Big up to Philly. Congratulations. You SOB’s have waited a long time to have a club.

    Cristian Arrieta- Way to step up. Puerto Rico Islanders fans love that guy. Looks like Union fans might end up loving him, too.

    Chris Seitz- Wow. International blooper reel. Someone get a sports psychologist for that kid, and fast. I think that he is going to need one.

    Santino Quaranta- Thanks for repping B’more and giving me someting to cheer about.

    Sebastian LeToux- How do you say, “Enjoy your moment, ‘playah” in Francais. What a day.

    Please, someone explain to me again, “Why did we hire Onalfo”???

  5. just saw this in Soccer America:
    According to U.S. Soccer Director of Referee Development, Paul Tamberino, the goal shouled not have been allowed. “By law there can be no interference, no fakes, no head attempts, nothing that interferes with the goalkeeper’s ability to release the ball within the six or seven seconds,” Tamberino said to “The goalkeeper needs to be free of interference and he can do whatever he wants in those six to seven seconds.”

  6. I think Migloranzi is an attempt at a short term answer while the young kid out of UCLA develops…Okugo will be a beast!

    Also you have to figure Sztela will figure into the midfeild.

  7. A 60 year old woman that made a tremendous play leading to the second goal, and drew the red and freekick leading to the game winner.

    Thats a pretty good 60 year old woman.

    Watch him play 90 minutes and see how many times he bails out his teammates by fighting for 50/50 balls and making something out of nothing.

    He aint pretty, but he is effective. When you have one player who cannot be handled posting up 1v1, it opens up a lot of space for guys to run off him.

  8. I love DC, but 2010 DCU = 2009 Red Bulls. It is going to be a long year unless we get Sheva or Seedorf this summer. Moreno should have joined Olsen to avoid this year.

  9. I think the concern with starting Jack and Torres together (and theres no way Nowak is sitting Roger after last games performance) is the lack of size in the attack. Unlike, say an Arsenal or Barca, their skill, while mighty impressive, wont be enough to crack MLS defenses over 90 minutes as teams will just mark them tight and body them off any service to feet.

    Bringing in Jack for the last 20 injects pace and creativity onto a defense physically and mentally spent after being harassed by Le Toux and frustrated by Moreno.

  10. 2nd Question: Are Miglioranzi and Jacobson the answer in the middle of the field?

    My opinion: they really jammed up the middle and never let DC create anything but going forward Miglioranzi really struggled and Jacobson was off on some boxes. I think Jacobson could be a box to box DCM in the mold of Bradley but that Miglioranzi is probably not the answer when the opponent is shutting down our wings.

  11. It is tough to argue that Le Toux and Moreno shouldn’t be starting considering how well they worked together against DC. They were really in sync, with Moreno playing holding forward and redirecting some nice long balls onto Le Toux.

    I agree Young Jack is a pretty special talent, he seems to really know positioning and combines some nice creativity (his 2nd touch against DC was a neat backheal pass) and hustle. I don’t think he needs to start right now but that he will continue to see minutes. I think Nowak does not care about age considering Torres continues to start and he has been using Jack as his first forward sub.

  12. I thought the reason for Le Toux’s decline in production last year was because he was used as an attacking wing rather than as a forward…or was it because he didn’t have a strong support forward like he does now in Moreno?

  13. Jack Mac is the real deal. His minutes will probably start increasing as the season progresses and maybe he will start before all is said and done. Too many people wrote him off after a sub par U-17 WC

  14. Question to Philly supporters: Why isn’t Jack-Mac getting more playing time?

    From what I’ve seen thus far he appears to be the most comfortable on the ball out of any forward and possessing the ability to distribute and locate streaking teammates effectively, in the very few minutes he’s seen (and I’ve seen of him).

    I thought I remember Nowak saying, ” I don’t care about the age, I care about the skill ” or something to that extent.

    Call me crazy but I still think Mwanga (not in the midfield) & McInerney should be playing up top with Le Toux as an attacking wing, no?

    Moreno is a world class diver but has the legs of a 60 year old woman with arthritis.

  15. I think A. Moreno embellished all match, but he was fouled on both plays you mention. He was held by the last defender on the red card for about a half second and Barklage attempted to trip him on the yellow and it was a very dangerous challenge. Rules state that contact does not need to be present in order for there to be a foul. Any dangerous play can result in a yellow whether the fouled player avoided contact or not.

    A foul exists if a player trips, pushes, kicks, barges, holds another player or ATTEMPTS TO do any of those things regardless of intent. So, if A. Moreno gets to the ball first and is forced to hurl himself over a dangerous challenge to avoid injury, then that is still a foul even if no contact is made. Ultimately, these are the decisions the referee has to make and I thought he made the correct decisions there.

  16. I’m probably going to incur the wrath of other posters but Alejandro Moreno dove on the third goal. There was in no way any contact that would have forced Moreno to fall. They both grabbed each other, bumped into each other, and then Moreno fell to the ground. The ref got baited into it. Also, when Moreno drew a yellow card from Barklage in the first half, Moreno embellished it. The replays actually showed Barklage pulled out on the challenge and Moreno jumped over and fell down acting like he got kicked in the shin.

    I think Moreno dove all game. Having said that, DC United -my team- is awful this year. In fact, we didn’t deserve either goal and should have been down a few more at half. I am not complaining about the result, Union deserved all three points. I just find it curious that Nowack complains about Ljunberg diving and then allows his players to act like that.

  17. Yeah, the last time the club won the supporters shield they lost their first three matches… United have sucked some fuzzy ones in the first three matches, but at least they showed a little fight and scored some goals.

    Really missing Simms and Namoff right now.

  18. am I the only one who thought the Seitz/Moreno goal should have been called back? Seitz didn’t accidently drop the ball, he was in the act of punting/drop-kicking it when Moreno jumped at him. I thought that was keeper encroachment?

  19. Thanks.

    That is interesting that the Don says having Landon in the home league is what is best for MLS.

    99% of the people commenting on this and other websites about him and MLS said that it would be best for MLS if he left ?

    Man, I am so confused.

  20. At least we have the World Cup to look forward to. This is going to be one of the worst seasons ever for United, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Pena is slower than Blanco.

  21. Nine goals conceded, 2 goals scored – and one of them gifted by a Chris Seitz howler. Winless at home, winless on the road. Lowest-rated team in MLS by Jeff Carlisle on espnsoccernet. And they really are that bad. This will be the worst team in the history of DC United. Kevin Payne has lost the script. Bringing in a 37 year-old center back to try to stabilize one of the worst backlines in MLS? This is going to be a long, long season.

  22. Pretty good attendance. Even though I watched the game only a few minutes, I felt very proud of the crowd and the League when that many people in the stands..

  23. It was a nice crowd. I hope most of those supporters turn up for every match this season for PHI. If so, they will easily sell out at 20k every match.


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