PHILADELPHIA — D.C. United’s early goal by Zoltán Stieber against the Philadelphia Union wasn’t enough to secure a Black-and-Red win. United fell 3-2 to its friendly foe.
The rivalry debate between supporters ranges from animosity to friendship. Before the introduction of the Union as an expansion team in 2010, soccer fans in South Jersey and Philadelphia had to choose from the New York Red Bulls (then MetroStars) to the north and D.C. United to the south.
The short trip on I-95 is a pipeline for players who have shared affiliation with both clubs, including Chris Pontius, Sébastien Le Toux and Charlie Davies.
Adding to the rivalry, Philadelphia maintained a long stretch of success at home against D.C. Prior to Saturday’s match, United last scored at Talen Energy Stadium in May 2014 when they beat the Union 1-0.
D.C.’s overall record at Philadelphia is 3-7-0, and the club has only scored multiple goals in Philadelphia three times, including the loss Saturday. The two previous results were also 3-2 losses.
The Union and United are both struggling this season heading into a stretch of road matches. DC heads into its third bye week in five weeks and looks to improve its passive performance before heading out West for a four-game road stretch.
United coach Ben Olsen on the team’s performance against Philadelphia
“We were pretty inconsistent. Certainly not my favorite performance from us this year, but we still did enough to get two goals. We had a chance or two to get something out of this game.
“Some of it had to do with tactics, but some of it had to do with the fact that we didn’t have enough guys at their best.
“[We] became passive all of a sudden. We had to get back in the game. At 2-2 we were off a little bit and became too passive.”
Defender Steve Birnbaum on the referee’s decisions
“We can’t get into the habit of defending in our box for the majority of the game. I am a little upset. I thought there were a couple missed calls out there. I thought there was a penalty on me. On their second goal someone comes in … and hits me late. I thought if that was anywhere else on the field they would call that, but we can’t make excuses. We just have to be better with the ball and create more chances going forward.
“It was a great start to the game. That is what we wanted, but obviously we couldn’t sustain that pressure.”
Listen to Birnbaum’s full postgame interview below: