Zach Pfeffer’s Goal Leads Philadelphia Union Past DC United


It was a game that was looked forward to all week. The Philadelphia Union had a chance to win only their second game of the year and look to turn around their season. In stoppage time in the second half, the Philadelphia Union found a way to score the game-winning goal after dominating for most of the night on paper.

Second-half substitute Zach Pfeffer fired the ball into the back of the net accurately and caused the crowd at PPL Park to erupt. It was a moment that many fans have been waiting for since April 24’s 4-1 loss to Columbus when they scored. Since then, they lost to Toronto and Vancouver 1-0 and 3-0, respectively.

This season the Union have struggled on the field this year between national team call-ups, player injuries, and other factors. Their season has also been mainly focused on how Rais MBohli wasn’t, then was, and then wasn’t again on the team and how the Union lost two goalies – Andre Blake and John McCarthy – to injuries within moments of each other.

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Cue in Brian Sylvestre who made his Union debut last week in the team’s 3-0 loss and showed off his overall goalkeeping skills to preserve the shutout against DC United on Saturday. Sunday’s performance comes on news that his emergency loan with the Union has been extended for eight weeks as Andre Blake continues to nurse a knee injury and it appears John McCarthy will serve has the back-up during that time.

On Sunday in front of a packed PPL Park and on Fox Sports 1, the Philadelphia Union looked like the better side. This came off shocking to many as DC United has more depth and sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with 21 points, while the Union, who previously hadn’t won a game since April 11 over NYCFC, were second to last in the table with six points. The win moves them to nine points and one points from the all important red line; those above it make the playoffs, while those under it end their season early. MLS’ 20th season is still young and there is guaranteed to be much movement within the standings and league. However, it’s worthwhile mentioning what tonight’s win means for a franchise that has had their ample scoring chances,  but haven’t been able to close out games.

Yet on Sunday, the Union were able to do just that.

It took until there 14th shot and sixth shot on goal to find the back of the net, but they finally found a much-needed game-winning goal and three points. Many of those shots on goal and into the box were gobbled up by DC United and MLS-leading goalie Bill Hamid.

Tonight’s victory was needed by everyone from the players, coaches and fans needed and have long for. The game-winning goal has come from no other than Zach Pfeffer, who was not called-up for the UMNT U-20 team that will compete in these year’s U-20 World Cup over Gedion Zelelam. While the news isn’t the best for Pfeffer, it’s a situation that will keep Pfeffer in town and that’s good for the Union who have dealt with depth issues for various reasons this year.

When Pfeffer scores for the Union, they are undefeated this season.

The win tonight is a result that makes head coach Jim Curtin “happy”, but not relieved.

“We won a soccer game at home. That’s what you are supposed to do. I’m happy with the result, but we only won one game. There’s still much to accomplish this season.”

Due to the league having a lot of parity from top to bottom and much movement within the league’s standings for much of the season, there isn’t much time to celebrate the victory.

“It was a game we deserved to win…there isn’t time to celebrate in this league.”

Next: Washington Spirit Defeat Sky Blue FC

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