*Read my match report from D.C. United’s PK triumph over the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup qualifier at Maryland SoccerPlex.

Perhaps the burden of the Honduras-USA decision cleared his mind. Whatever it was, Andy Najar showed marked improvement after a lackluster start to the season. His footwork rekindled memories of his 2010 campaign and he created several quality scoring chances.

“It was a step in the right direction, for sure,” said Coach Ben Olsen, who dropped Najar from the starting lineup last weekend. “We saw a little bit of the old Andy there, and you know we challenged him. He’s a young kid, but we asked more of him and tonight he gave us the energy and the passion that people love.”

*Why was Union Coach Peter Nowak sent off late in extra time?

“I was celebrating and [the referee] told me to leave the field,” Nowak claimed. “I’m just like, ‘We scored a goal, we celebrated’ and that was it. After he threw me out, I had a couple of comments about his performance today – not abusive comments, but about his ability to ref the game.”

*Have no fear: The potential government shutdown will not affect RFK Stadium this weekend. David Beckham is in town, after all. The Washington Sports and Convention Authority, which oversees the stadium, is considered “essential” and will operate normally under the authorization act. (Insert snarky comments here.) Thanks to Insider loyalist Paul Levy for sharing the links.

*A big crowd is expected for Saturday’s match against the Los Angeles Galaxy. At last check, about 18,000 tickets had been sold and attendance should end up between 21,000 and 25,000.

*Join me at 11 a.m. ET for a live online chat with Post columnist Tracee Hamilton. Submit questions, follow along or read the transcript later.

The DCU video package: