Philadelphia Union 1, D.C. United 0 | MLS Match Recap
CHESTER, Pa. – The hometown kid saved the day for the Philadelphia Union.
With the Union and D.C. United chugging along to a scoreless draw in a matchup between two teams on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table, Zach Pfeffer scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner to lift Philly to a 1-0 win in front of a thrilled PPL Park crowd Sunday night.
The stunning result sent first-place D.C. United (6-2-3) to their first loss since March 22, ending their unbeaten streak at eight.
The Union (2-7-3), meanwhile, avoided setting a club record with five straight losses and won just their second game of a sputtering 2015 campaign they desperately hope to turn around.
Bill Hamid sparkled in a losing effort, making five saves to keep the game level until stoppage time when Pfeffer – Philadelphia's first Homegrown Player signing – calmly controlled a Fabinho cross in the box and drove one past the D.C. United ’keeper.
It was the Union’s first goal in 296 minutes and Pfeffer's second of the year.
Brian Sylvestre, making his second MLS start after getting loaned to Philly from the NASL’s Carolina Railhawks, did not need to make any saves to post the shutout.
The Union thought they scored earlier when Conor Casey controlled a Sebastien Le Toux 17th-minute cross in the box and hit one into the back of the net. But the goal was waved off after referee Alan Kelly determined Casey handled the ball when he brought it down.
Casey, making his first start of the season, had another huge chance right before the halftime whistle after Brian Caroll flicked a Sheanon Williams cross to him but was stoned by Hamid from point-blank range.
Hamid also made a nice save on a low shot from Vincent Nogueira in the 32nd minute, just before another Nogueira shot from the same spot was deflected wide.
D.C. started to put a little bit of pressure on Philly after the break when Miguel Aguilar hit the post in the 50th minute. In the 65th minute, United had a goal of their own called back for a foul during a scramble for a free kick in the box.
But the first-place team in the East finished with only five attempts, none on target.
Crisitian Maidana spurred a few second-half chances for the Union. Casey was a step slow in getting to his terrific 57th-minute ball, and Hamid smothered Le Toux in the box after Maidana sprung him free in the 73rd minute.
Fabinho, who came on for the injured Ray Gaddis, shot one just high in the 74th minute, and neither team had many more chances until the stoppage-time dramatics.
The Union return to action next Sunday with a road match against the New York Red bulls. D.C. United head to New England for a Saturday showdown against the New England Revolution.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.