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DC United 2, Philadelphia Union 1 | MLS Match Recap

Chris Rolfe struck on an 85th-minute penalty kick to give D.C. United a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Union on a muggy evening at RFK Stadium.

Rolfe’s converted penalty, his fourth goal of the season, came after referee Ted Unkel ruled that Union substitute Zach Pfeffer had handled a looping cross intended for Rolfe at the back post.

Chris Pontius also scored his second of the year after halftime for Eastern Conference-leading D.C. (7-3-4,25 points), who stretched its home unbeaten run to to 19 matches in all competitions, tying a club record.

Sebastien Le Toux finally ended his scoring drought for the Union (3-8-3, 12 points), striking in the fifth minute for his first of the year.mBut Philadelphia saw its win streak snapped at two games on a night when it may have felt both D.C. goal-scorers should’ve been sent off before Rolfe’s late winner.

Rolfe escaped a booking, let alone a red card, in the 63rd minute despite kicking out into Vincent Nogueira’s thigh after Nogueira fouled him. Nogueira was booked for his tackle from behind. Unkel also gave United’s Pontius a yellow card moments later despite fouling Le Toux as the Union midfield broke to goal, with Le Toux and others protesting the foul had denied a clear scoring opportunity.

United pressured the Union after those twin escapes, with Rolfe and Nick DeLeon both forcing Brian Sylvestre into diving saves with long-range efforts. But a share of the points seemed in order until Pfeffer failed get his arm out of the way of a long looping ball across the penalty area.

Rolfe hammered in the spot kick, leaving a motionless Sylvestre with no chance.

Le Toux struck in the fifth minute as United were punished for an early defensive lapse for the second consecutive match. Steve Birnbaum intercepted Fernando Aristiguieta’s pass, but tried to control it instead of clearing. Andrew Wenger quickly dispossessed Birnbaum, took a couple touches and slotted the ball right to Le Toux, who thumped a finish beyond Bill Hamid from just outside the six-yard box.

Birnbaum nearly made up for his giveaway in the 33rd minute when he rose above Maurice Edu to reach Rolfe’s corner, only for Fabinho to clear his header off the line.

The Union might’ve made it 2-0 just before halftime. Wenger rattled a 12-yard strike off Hamid’s crossbar in the 36th minute. Moments later, Richie Marquez beat Hamid to Le Toux’s corner only to head over the crossbar. And then Le Toux’s long-range effort knuckled and forced Hamid into an uncomfortable save.

Instead, Pontius struck in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, rising to head home Taylor Kemp’s cross from the left after Kemp received Perry Kitchen’s pass on the wing.

Both teams return to action on Wednesday, as D.C. United continue a three-match homestand against the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium while the Union meet Columbus Crew SC at PPL Park.

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