WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 2: Carlos Ruiz #20 of the Philadelphia Union celebrates after a goal against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on July 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

D.C. United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Carlos Ruiz's Late Goal Salvages 2-2 Draw For Union

Andy Najar's 35-yard rocket of a goal is not enough for United, as Carlos Ruiz's 84th minute goal salvages a 2-2 draw for Philadelphia.

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D.C.United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Dwayne De Rosario Sees It All In Black-And-Red Debut

Dwayne De Rosario experiences United's season in microcosm in a promising D.C. debut.


D.C. United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Ben Olsen Defiant After Another Home Disappointment

When referee Abbey Okulaja blew the final whistle on Saturday night's 2-2 draw between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union, the Black-and-Red added to a ghastly statistic. Since a 2-1 midweek win over the Seattle Sounders back on May 4, United has played five MLS games on East Capitol Street. They have drawn four of those games and lost one, only taking four of a possible 15 points. As a result, instead of challenging for the top of the Eastern Conference with as many as 30 points to their credit, United sit in 5th place, having taken just 19 points from 16 games.

None of that seemed to faze D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen very much, however. In contrast to his disconsolate demeanor after last weekend's home draw against Houston, Olsen was much more pleased with the performance of his side Saturday night and was even moved to issue a proclamation of sorts. 

"If [Philadelphia's] the number one team in the East," Olsen said, "then we've got a chance in the East."

"It's obviously disappointing," Olsen said of the draw, which came about as a result of Carlos' Ruiz's 84th minute goal, "and it hurts a little bit more because it was the second one [in a row]. But, putting that aside, we brought two new guys [Dwayne De Rosario and Brandon McDonald] into the team this week, and I thought it was a pretty good game, overall. It was a little too open, but that's what they do well. They counterattack well."

Olsen was full of praise for both De Rosario and McDonald, who both went the full 90 minutes. De Rosario even got on the score sheet in his D.C. United debut, assisting on United's first goal by Josh Wolff.

"[De Rosario] had a very good night," Olsen said. "He worked his tail off. It's been a long week for him, not just with the travel, but emotionally. McDonald was very good, too. I thought he was steady.

"I'm pleased with the performance," Olsen concluded. "I'm not pleased with the result."


D.C. United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Another Late Goal, Another Home Draw For United

It's the 4th of July weekend in Washington D.C., but Ben Olsen could be forgiven for thinking that Groundhog Day has been moved to early summer on the calendar. For the second straight week, the D.C. United boss watched his team throw away two one-goal leads and settle for a 2-2 draw against an Eastern Conference rival. This time, it was the Philadelphia Union who worked a bit of black magic, as Carlos Ruiz's 84th-minute goal gave the Eastern Conference leaders a 2-2 draw and a point at RFK Stadium Saturday night.

As happened last weekend against Houston, D.C. United's defense appeared short of energy and stamina as the Guatemalan striker slipped into United's penalty area and turned home a right-wing cross from Sheanon Williams to deny the home side two very precious points in the tight Eastern Conference standings.

The result was a waste of Andy Najar's 35-yard strike in the 58th minute that gave United a 2-1 lead. The second-year player from Honduras picked up a loose ball on the midfield line and strode into Philadelphia territory. With no defenders around, Najar decided to try a right-footed shot, which swerved past the despairing dive of Faryd Mondragon and into the lower right-hand corner of the net.

Najar's drive put United back into the lead nine minutes after the home side had let their 1-0 halftime lead slip thanks to a calamitous own goal by rookie defender Perry Kitchen. It wasn't all Kitchen's responsibility, however, as Chris Pontius started the ill-fated sequence by gifting the ball straight to Veljko Paunovic at the right edge of United's penalty area, and it was the Macedonian's cross that was redirected into Bill Hamid's own net by Kitchen's right boot.

Philadelphia almost equalized straight after Najar's goal, but Hamid made a brilliant reaction save to deny a point-blank header by Ruiz in the 60th minute.


D.C. United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Dwayne De Rosario Assists As Josh Wolff Puts United On Top At Halftime

Dwayne De Rosario has made an instant impact for D.C. United, providing the primary assist on Josh Wolff's 44th-minute goal as D.C. United lead the Philadelphia Union 1-0 at halftime at RFK Stadium.

De Rosario did most of the work on Wolff's goal, as he collected a pass from Andy Najar on the left side of the Philadelphia penalty area and wound his way to the byline, where he managed to draw two visiting players to him before crossing the ball to Wolff, who turned the ball in from two yards out for his fourth goal of the season.

D.C. United had the first good chance of the evening as Chris Pontius sent a downward header wide of Faryd Mondragon's right post in the 2nd minute. After a slow start, Philadelphia slowly found their way into the match and Danny Mwanga forced Bill Hamid into a diving 19th minute save to push the Congolese striker's attempt around the left post. The home team almost scored a minute later as Pontius forced Mondragon to lunge to his right to tip the winger's drive to safety. In the 24th minute, it was Wolff's turn to sting Mondragon's palms with an angled shot from inside the area, but the Colombian netminder was equal to the task and the Union were able to clear away the rebound. 

Philadelphia's best chance of the match came in the 36th minute as Sebastian Le Toux was sent clear down the right wing, but while the Frenchman was able to dink the ball past the onrushing Hamid, he could only manage to place the ball just wide of Hamid's right post.


D.C. United Vs. Philadelphia Union: De Rosario Starts, McDonald At Center-Back

D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen has handed starts to both Dwayne De Rosario and Brandon McDonald as both of the Black-and-Red's big midweek acquisitions will make their D.C. debuts tonight against the Philadelphia Union. As expected, De Rosario will play in an attacking central midfield role that will require him to sit just behind the striking tandem of Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies. Speaking of Davies, his injured ankle has recovered enough for him to start up front tonight for the second straight game. McDonald will be paired with Ethan White at center-back, while Perry Kitchen moves to right-back in place of Jed Zayner, who underwent successful knee surgery today. Daniel Woolard (back spasms) passed a late fitness test and is in at left back.

Peter Nowak makes just one change from the lineup that started Philadelphia's 3-2 win over Chivas USA last Saturday, as Danny Mwanga starts up top alongside Sebastian Le Toux in place of Jack McInerney.

Full D.C. United starting lineup: Bill Hamid (GK), Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius, Josh Wolff (Captain), Charlie Davies.

Available D.C. United substitutes: Steve Cronin (GK), Chris Korb, Brandon Barklage, Stephen King, Fred, Joseph, Ngwenya, Blake Brettschneider.

Full Philadelphia Union starting lineup: Faryd Mondragon (GK, Captain), Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Justin Mapp, Brian Carroll, Veljko Paunovic, Sebastion Le Toux, Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz.

Available Philadelphia Union substitutes: Roger Torres, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Jack McInerney, Gabriel Farfan, Keon Daniel, Zac MacMath (GK).


D.C.United Vs. Philadelphia Union: New-Look United Host First-Place Philadelphia

After a busy week off the pitch, D.C. United look  to celebrate the 4th of July weekend in style as they face the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union.

D.C. United (4-5-6) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-4-5)

When: 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 2.

Where: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington D.C.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Team News and Tactics

D.C. United: Ben Olsen might have tipped his hand vis a vis where the newly-acquired Dwayne De Rosario will play in Thursday afternoon's training session, as The Washington Post's Steven Goff tweeted that De Rosario was playing in the hole behind the strike force of Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies, while Clyde Simms played a more defensive role behind the Canadian international. This formation would seem to create a multitude of attacking options for United, as De Rosario can either get the ball over the top to Wolff or Davies or distribute the ball to Chris Pontius and Andy Najar on the wings. It will be interesting to see if Olsen sticks with that setup at the front.

At the back, Jed Zayner is unavailable as he will undergo knee surgery after injuring himself in practice this week. Regular left back Daniel Woolard will be a game-time decision after struggling with back spasms. If he can't go, Chris Korb will likely come back into the team in Woolard's place. New boy Brandon McDonald also seems likely to be handed a start in his D.C. United debut, which would likely move Perry Kitchen to right-back to take Zayner's place.

Philadelphia Union: Don't expect Peter Nowak to make many changes to the side that defeated Chivas USA 3-2 last weekend at PPL Park. Pay special attention to the center-back tandem of Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes, who form the spine of a defense that has conceded only 14 goals in 16 games so far this season.

Key to the Game

How will De Ro do?--Not much subtlety to this point. The big question entering tonight's game concerns how Dwayne De Rosario fits with his new mates and in Ben Olsen's system. Will he be the play-making midfielder that Dax McCarty was never able to become? Will he be the missing piece that enables D.C. United to charge up the Eastern Conference standings? We'll start to find out tonight.

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