As the clouds disappeared on the rainy afternoon of Saturday, July 9th, the only roars, claps, and booms that remained were no longer from thunder, but from one and only ‘Sons of Ben’. Walking into Talen Energy Stadium the energy was out of control with fans cheering about the Union. This season has been one of great success from the Union, and this match was nothing short of their current standard. From the very get go there was a clear presence of home field advantage: the fans screaming, songs being chanted, and not a whisper from the DC United fans.
Pregame began, the players take took their positions, the National Anthem was performed, and the crowd absolutely erupted. The energy started at 110% and did not let up from there. From the second the match started it was clear that the Union came to play, and wanted the win. Early on, DC United tried to set the tone, but quickly became too physical, and were repeatedly penalized for their infractions. This allowed the Union to dominate the offense position early and set the pace for success. Not only did the Union’s offense come out of the gate running, but they were in complete shutdown mode from the opening whistle. Sprinting after their opposition and executing flawless tackles, the Union were able to ensure that DC United was unable to accrue any type of offensive attacks.
As the game continued into the 20th minute it was clear that DC United’s physical play was going to come back to bite them, and this was solidified when Roland Alberg scored on a penalty kick. Alberg was able to score his sixth goal of the year, as well as whipping the already excited crowd into a frenzy. From that point on, the crowd knew this was the Union’s game and they had control. As Philadelphia continued to mount their viscous attack and lockdown defense, DC United just did not have the answer. In the 37th minute DC’s attack again became too much, and the Union were awarded their second penalty kick of the match. This penalty kick may have been the match that Ilsinho needed to light the fire, because he not only scored his first goal of the year on this penalty kick, but he also went on to score his second goal of the match in the 47th minute.
The Union knew how to close it out, because from the 47th minute on, there was not a DC United attack in sight. DC United were frustrated and could not amount a formidable offense whatsoever. Feeding off the insane energy from the crowd, the Union kept their stellar defense going from amazing performances from both Ken Tribbett and newly appointed All-Star, Keegan Rosenberry. The Union continuously shut down DC and were able to ensure that it was an easy night for Rosenberry’s All-Star teammate, GK Andre Blake. The saves that Blake did make though were tremendous, and he left no doubts about his recent accolades with chants of “Blaaaaaake” roaring from the Sons of Ben all throughout the game.
All in all the Union were able to dominate DC United because they were hungry for this win, were able to mount a successful attack, and cover themselves beautifully on defense. If the Union can continue to play in this manner and shut down top-notch teams, we may be seeing win after win in Philadelphia, and a very successful season. After the game, the fireworks on the field were followed up with celebratory fireworks above Talen Energy Stadium.
[Photos by: Josh Campbell Photography]
[Article by Emily Holmquist]
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