Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer
Philadelphia Union drew 1-1 with DC United on Sunday after a series of scuffles, red cards, and controversial referee calls reversed a game that looked like a sure Union loss.
Referee Mark Geiger waved off two apparent United goals in the second half and sent off three players in the last ten minutes.
On the first disallowed goal, Zac MacMath stopped and spilled a shot by Dwayne De Rosario in the 64th minute. Hamdi Salihi came in for the rebound and fell over a diving MacMath, resulting in a foul call just before Nick DeLeon netted the rebound.
On the second, Geiger correctly called Salihi for encroachment into the area before De Rosario fired his penalty kick past MacMath. That sparked a scrap between the teams that resulted in a red card for Branko Boskovic and yellows for Gabriel Farfan and Roger Torres. After order was restored, De Rosario skied his second attempt over the crossbar.
The final 10 minutes marred what had been an ordinary game before a crowd of just 12,312 beneath gray skies, but it certainly didn’t hurt an increasingly heated rivalry.
“It’s DC vs. Philly,” said Union right back Sheanon Williams, who was sent off in stoppage time. “They don’t like us, and we don’t like them.”
United coach Ben Olsen was furious after the match.
“The Geiger show,” Olsen said when asked about the officiating. “He wants to make the big call to change games.”
Olsen called the 64th minute foul on Salihi an “imaginary foul” and said Geiger lost control of the game.
On the other hand, he said the tension between the teams only improves the rivalry. “I think it heats it up,” Olsen said. “I like this stuff.”
Hackworth declined to comment on the officiating, but he said he was happy to come away with a result away from home.
“I think a point on the road in this league is really important,” Hackworth said.
It was a road game that Hackworth wasn’t taking any chances with, as he restored the back six who have been in the starting lineup much of his tenure. Michael Lahoud and Brian Carroll took holding midfield roles in a formation that looked more 4-2-3-1 than 4-3-3, while Gabriel Farfan, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams manned the back line. Newly acquired Danny Cruz started on one flank opposite Freddy Adu, with Jack McInerney and Michael Farfan rounding out the Union lineup. Hackworth held Gabriel Gomez out of the 18 because Gomez didn’t return from overseas duty until Saturday night.
The Union opened up the scoring in eighth minute. Adu lofted a free kick into the box that Okugo kept alive with a header that found Michael Farfan. Farfan then one-timed a shot awry, but the ball deflected off United’s Perry Kitchen across the face of net to Carroll, who buried the game’s first goal.
The rest of the first half was evenly matched, with the teams alternating in the ascendancy. United outshot the Union 10 to 8 in the first half, but goalkeepers Zac MacMath and Bill Hamid each had four saves.
A notable moment was when Geiger cautioned Williams in the 37th minute for taking too long on a throw-in. The Union would pay later for that when Williams drew a second yellow card in stoppage time and was ejected. (Raymon Gaddis will likely replace the now suspended Williams on Friday against Real Salt Lake, Hackworth said after the game.)
At the half’s close, United nearly equalized, but Adu stepped up to save a goal. United’s Lionard Pajoy, who Philadelphia traded to DC last week for Cruz, collected a corner kick and lofted a header on target over MacMath, only to see Adu step out of the net to head out a goal line clearance. Adu then deflected the rebound shot, and the half closed seconds later with the Union up 1-0.
After halftime, United dominated, outshooting the Union 10 to 2 in the second half, controlling 64 percent of the possession, and finding the back of the net three times. Unfortunately, only one counted.
That lone United goal came in the 71st minute off a perfectly placed Boskovic free kick. The ball split Okugo and MacMath, with neither calling off the other, and Okugo deflected it into net for an own goal. “We got caught in No Man’s Land,” Okugo said after the game.
United controlled the match from there on, culminating with an 85th minute penalty against Torres, who had come in six minutes earlier for McInerney.
Then came the De Rosario penalty kicks and the chaos that would ensue. Stoppage time saw Geiger give a straight red card to United’s Emiliano Dudar after he tackled Antoine Hoppenot from behind, followed by Williams getting a second yellow four minutes later for a sliding tackle on a breakaway.
No word yet on whether Geiger will officiate the next match of this rivalry.
Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Michael Farfan, Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot ’58), Jack McInerney (Roger Torres ’80), Freddy Adu (Keon Daniel ’69)
Unused subs: Chase Harrison, Chris Albright, Raymon Gaddis, Chandler Hoffman
Bill Hamid, Dejan Jakovic (Hamdi Salihi ’61), Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar, Chris Korb, Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, Lionard Pajoy (Branko Boskovic ’58), Dwayne De Rosario (Marcelo Saragosa ’89), Chris Pontius
Unused subs: Joe Willis, Mike Chabala, Ethan White, Long Tan
8 — PHI: Carroll
71 — DC: Okugo (OG)
PHI: ’37, Williams (yellow, time wasting)
PHI: ’44, Lahoud (yellow, foul)
PHI: ’70, McInerney (yellow, foul)
PHI: ’89, G. Farfan (yellow, argument)
DC: ’89, Boskovic (red, argument)
PHI: ’89, Torres (yellow, argument)
DC: ’91, Dudar (red, foul)
PHI: ’95, Williams (yellow/red, foul)
DC: ’96, Hamid (yellow, argument)