‘Shell-shocked' D.C. United breaks down in loss to expansion Philadelphia, falls to 0-3

By Steven Goff
Sunday, April 11, 2010

PHILADELPHIA -- D.C. United's perplexing season had finally begun to turn Saturday, a two-goal deficit erased in a five-minute span of the second half on a superb strike by Santino Quaranta and a fortuitous goal by Jaime Moreno.

"When we got the second [goal]," Coach Curt Onalfo said, "I thought we were going to win the game and, at a minimum, walk out of here with a point" for a tie.

Instead, United broke down again and was saddled with a 3-2 loss to the expansion Philadelphia Union, which made its home debut at Lincoln Financial Field in front of a crowd of 34,780 people, including Vice President Biden.

After United defender Dejan Jakovic received a red card, Sebastien Le Toux completed a hat trick with a 22-yard free kick in the 80th minute.

Two weeks ago United (0-3) was undone by early goals. Last week New England did the damage in the final 10 minutes. On this evening, problems at the beginning and end led to the downfall.

Le Toux scored in the fourth and 40th minutes for Philadelphia (1-1), which had a poor showing in its inaugural match and didn't appear to have the attacking personnel to endanger United.

"We talked all week about matching their intensity, but we were shell-shocked a little bit," Quaranta said. "We came out and didn't play any kind of soccer. I didn't think they were playing like Barcelona, you know?"

United lacked invention and ideas and was starved for possession. Its defensive effort was just as worrisome.

On the first goal, United goalkeeper Troy Perkins remained rooted on his goal line as Roger Torres served a cross to the six-yard box, allowing the unmarked Le Toux to snap in a header.

"That whole game is my fault," Perkins said. "The first goal I am too deep on my line, can't get to it."

The situation worsened in the 15th minute when Juan Manuel Pena departed with a strained hamstring. Le Toux doubled the lead by timing his run perfectly to collect Alejandro Moreno's exquisite long ball in stride and place a low, 18-yard shot into the far corner.

Incapable of creating anything in the run of play, United produced its best threat of the half off a set piece -- Danny Allsopp's header that missed the near side off Christian Castillo's corner kick.

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