WASHINGTON, September 27, 2014 — Luis Silva scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season as D.C. United downed the Philadelphia Union 1-0 before 19,478 at RFK Stadium on Saturday.
Silva, 25, is having a career-high year for goals. He had eight goals over his first two MLS season before this year. United now have a six point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with just four games left on the regular season. The well-balanced team, that has given up just 34 goals – the second best defense in the league – appears in good shape as the playoffs loom.
Going into the game, United was looking for its first win in four matches, while the Union arrived in D.C. unbeaten in five games.
United took the lead in the tenth minute after Silva headed Chris Korb’s pass into the net beyond diving Union goalie Rais Mbolhi. It was a delicate chip from Korb who won a lucky deflection inside the box. Silva, standing about seven yards out, placed his header perfectly.
“His confidence is so high now and he has the quality to do these things,” said United coach Ben Olsen about Silva.
The Union were dealt a blow in the 22nd minute top scorer Sebastien Le Toux (12 goals, 6 assists) left the field with an ankle sprain and was replaced by former United midfielder Danny Cruz.
United nearly extended the lead in the 23rd minute when Mbolhi had trouble handling Perry Kitchen’s long-range shot and could only push it out for a corner kick. Kitchen would later pick up a yellow card which will keep him out of United’s next game.
The damage could have been worse for the visitors. Philadelphia defender Carlos Valdes was forced to save two shots off the goal-line to keep his club in the game. First, he rushed back to clear Fabian Espindola’s shot, and then he blocked a shot from Silva.
On the hour-mark, Chris Pontius replaced Korb and Eddie Johnson replaced Silva in the 68th minute.
United goalie Bill Hamid came up big stopping Maurice Edu’s long-range blast in the 79th minute.
United plays its second-to-last home game on Friday night when it faces Sporting Kansas City. The club needs one more point to secure a playoff spot. As for the Union, the team remains still out of the playoff picture.