September 15, 2019

D.C. United Game 30 Recap: November soccer close to reality after win over Philadelphia

SILVA’S 11TH GOAL OF SEASON ENOUGH SATURDAY VS. UNION

Everything is right there now, so tantalizingly out of reach for D.C. United. A playoff spot is just 5 points away (or less if Toronto FC drops points), and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference is just seven points away (at the most, depending on other results). All this is possible now after United defeated the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, Saturday before 19,478 at RFK Stadium. United improved to 15-9-6 (51 points) while Philly dropped to 9-10-11 (38).

Such thoughts a year ago at this time would have been laughed at heartily. But a remodeled roster has allowed head coach Ben Olsen (he of the newly-minted extended contract) to lead United from Major League Soccer doormats to a team to be reckoned with in the race for MLS Cup. But beyond the new players, Luis Silva perhaps embodies the improvement in this side over a year ago, and it was his career-high 11th goal of the season that was the difference Saturday.

Silva got the goal in the 10th minute and United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made it stand up. Silva’s goal came off a build that originally saw a Sean Franklin cross attempt blocked. United’s Chris Korb was first to the rebound, however, and before the Union defense could react, he sent in a well-measured cross toward the back post, to the right of Philadelphia goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi. Silva got free from Philly defender Sheanon Williams and softly floated a header inside the back post. Hamid made four saves in his ninth shutout of the season, a new career high. It was Hamid’s 29th career clean sheet.

It seems run of the mill to say United’s next game is its biggest, but in looking at the schedule, that’s really the case. United is home to Sporting Kansas City Friday night at 8 p.m. SKC is one of two teams six points behind United in second place in the East (New England is the other). A win would go a long way toward securing the top seed in the East playoffs.

Following that, United’s three remaining matches are against Houston, Chicago, and Montreal, the bottom three teams in the East. A win over SKC and a 1-1-1 finish against the Eastern bottom-feeders would leave D.C. atop the East at the end of the regular season. United have every opportunity to make it a big season, as long as the club doesn’t lose focus on the big game at hand Friday night.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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