Sunday, August 11, 2013

Casey lifts Union over D.C. United

Chester, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union (10-7-7) defeated Eastern Conference rival D.C. United Saturday night behind two goals from forward Conor Casey in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,652 at PPL Park.

“I think, and I have said this all along, that we have a group of players who believe in each other, they trust each other,” said Team Manager John Hackworth.  “I think the character you see out of our team every time we have a negative result, to come back and have a positive one. We have done it all year long and I think our resolve that way is excellent.”

The brace was Casey’s second of the season, his first in a 3-0 win at PPL Park against New York. Casey has always emerged strong against the Union’s rivals this season and Saturday night against United was no different.

But it wasn’t his stats – numbers that continue to climb at a rapid rate – that Casey wanted to dwell on postgame.

“It was a must-win,” said Casey on what fueled his performance. “We were playing against an Eastern Conference team that has struggled this year and has had some injuries coming into this week. Regardless, we haven’t dropped two in a row yet this year and we were playing at home. It was a must-win and it was great that we were able to come away with the points.”

Casey’s first goal came in the 35th minute, after a ball into the 18-yard-box from Sheanon Williams was flicked on by Sebastien Le Toux. Casey ran onto Le Toux’ flick and slotted it past a lunging Bill Hamid. In the 78th, Casey got the better of Hamid once more, as a lofted ball to the back post found Casey for a one-timed volley past the D.C. United goalkeeper.

“He scores two goals, fantastic,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “But what he did early in that game changed a little bit of it by dropping deep in the midfield and giving us the ability to play into him and off of him, it changed things for us. So, really happy for him and that he continues to do those things; I have said it all along, I am really glad we have him.”

Le Toux extended his league lead in assists with 12 while Fabinho chimed in with his second helper of the season.  Interestingly enough, Le Toux played on the left side of the pitch out of position in behind Fabinho, but was still able to connect with his usual partner in behind in Williams for the game’s first goal.

Additionally, Zac MacMath had another brilliant game earning his third shutout in four matches and his eighth overall this season. MacMath looked especially keen in the 72nd minute when he noticed a streaking Le Toux down the middle of the field and played a ball into stride that was broken up by a charging Hamid.

It wasn’t exactly what you’d expect from a Union-United showdown, as only four cautions were issued and in terms of extracurricular activity off the ball, it was few and far between. What the Union gain from this is even more swagger going into another tough battle against another rival in New York next Saturday (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network). Nestled in third in place, the Union within two points of East leaders Sporting Kansas City (11-7-6, 39 points) and are a point behind Red Bull.

The Union return to action at PPL Park on August 31 when they look to exact revenge against Montreal Impact. The last time those two met was on May 25 when the Marco Di Vaio fueled a 5-3 defeat in Canada.


BOX SCORE

Philadelphia Union 2, D.C. United 0

Saturday, August 10; 8:00 p.m. ET

PPL Park, Chester, Pa.


SCORING SUMMARY

PHI: Casey (Le Toux, Williams) 35’

PHI: Casey (Fabinho, Le Toux) 75’


DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

PHI: Okugo (caution) 56’

PHI: Williams (caution) 61’

PHI: Cruz (encroachment) 62’

D.C.: Riley (caution) 81’


UNION STARTING 11

MacMath, Williams, Okugo, Parke, Fabinho, Le Toux (Lahoud 90+2’), Carroll, Daniel, Cruz (Farfan 69’), McInerney, Casey (Wheeler 85’).

Substitutions not used: Konopka, Kleberson, Hoppenot, Kassel.

D.C. UNITED STARTING 11

Hamid, Korb, Riley, White, Shanosky, Kemp, Jeffrey, Porter (De Rosario 45’), Martin (Seaton 76’), Kitchen, Doyle.

Substitutions not used: Willis, Thorrington, Woolard, Jakovic.
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