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Short-handed Union host surging D.C. United

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Something has to give Saturday night when the Philadelphia Union, one of the best defensive teams in Major League Soccer, square off against the suddenly potent attack of D.C. United in an Eastern Conference dustup in Chester, Pa.

D.C. United head into the Philadelphia suburbs after a rousing 7-1 win at home over Toronto FC on July 3. The seven goals and the six-goal margin of victory both set club records.

In five games since dropping a 1-0 decision at home to Philadelphia on May 23, D.C. United (5-6-1, 16 points) have three wins, a draw and one setback in league play, outscoring their opponents 12-3 over that stretch.

D.C United coach Hernan Losada said he liked the way his team stayed on the accelerator against Toronto even with the outcome no longer in doubt.

“We still (kept) on going for the fifth one and the sixth one,” Losada said. “And the attitude of the substitution players — those are the kinds of things that made me really proud. Everyone on this club is really willing to help write history to start a new chapter in this beautiful club; that’s why I’m so proud.”

Seven different players scored in that game for the United, including the club’s top scorer, Ola Kamara (five).

Philadelphia (5-3-5, 20 points) have won their past three home games, keeping a clean sheet in each game, the first time the Union have produced three consecutive shutouts at home since June and July 2017.

But the Union will be severely short-handed for the match, with starting goalkeeper Andre Blake on assignment with the Jamaican national team, and several others also on national team duty or out with injuries. Philadelphia is 2-1-3 since the May 23 contest with D.C. United.

“You guys could probably piece together our starting lineup pretty easily, as I’m sure D.C. United could,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “(D.C. United) outplayed us for long stretches of (the May 23 game), and they were the team that was kind of the aggressor. They really get after you. They don’t give you time and space.”

The Union have a current nine-match unbeaten streak against D.C. United, dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season, with eight wins and a draw.

–Field Level Media

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