WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 2: Andy Najar #14 of D.C. United controls the ball against Keon Daniel #17 of the Philadelphia Union at RFK Stadium on July 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

D.C. United At Philadelphia Union: United Fall 3-2, Miss Chance To Gain Ground In MLS Playoff Race

Michael Farfan's goal is the difference as Philadelphia moves up to second place in the Eastern Conference.

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D.C. United At Philadelphia Union: Michael Farfan's Second-Half Goal Sends D.C. United Home Empty-Handed

Michael Farfan's 57th-minute goal turned out to be the difference as the Philadelphia Union got the better of D.C. United 3-2 on Thursday night at PPL Park. The result kept United out of the MLS playoff places and temporarily sent the Union to second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Sporting Kansas City.

As disappointing as the result was for United, they will have even more pressing concerns ahead of Sunday's road match at Columbus. Brandon McDonald will miss Sunday's match after picking up a 71st-minute yellow card, an outcome which will deprive D.C. United of half of their incumbent center-back partnership. In addition, Dwayne De Rosario was subbed off for Santino Quaranta in the 62nd minute after suffering an apparent leg injury.

United will no doubt rue the missed opportunity to pick up crucial points on the road after rallying from an early 2-0 deficit to even the match 2-2 at halftime through goals by De Rosario and Andy Najar. The goal itself seemed to be preventable, as Farfan and Roger Torres played a simple one-two in midfield before Farfan swerved past McDonald, who had come well forward to attempt a tackle, squared himself to shoot at the top of the penalty area, and placed the ball perfectly into the top corner of Bill Hamid's net.

The Black-and-Red had ample opportunities to equalize, but their best chance was in the 64th minute, when Andy Najar cruised unmarked into the box to redirect a left-wing cross from Quaranta. Unfortunately, Najar could only manage to drag the ball just wide of Zac MacMath's goal, a missed chance which perfectly summed up a very frustrating night at the office.

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D.C. United At Philadelphia Union: Dwayne De Rosario And Andy Najar Cancel Out Sebastien Le Toux's Double

Defense was apparently at too high a premium in the first half of tonight's match between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union. The Eastern Conference rivals split four goals in the first half hour of a thrilling match and have gone to the half tied 2-2.

The homestanding Union had the better of the early pressure and broke through after just four minutes when a long ball from near the halfway line deflected off the back of Ethan White and bounced into the path of Sebastien Le Toux, who took the ball on the run and finished past Bill Hamid. Eleven minutes later, Le Toux doubled the Union's lead when he redirected a beautiful curling cross from Michael Farfan past Hamid and into the net.

At this point, a reprise of either United's 4-0 away defeat at Houston back in April or the 3-0 loss to Seattle on September 17 seemed to be a real possibility. But the visitors redoubled their attacking efforts and won two consecutive corners, the last of which was headed into the net in the 22nd minute by Dwayne De Rosario for his 14th goal of the season and his 11th in a D.C. United uniform.

Eight minutes later, United equalized through Andy Najar, after the Honduran international was allowed to take a rollout from Bill Hamid and run the length of the pitch unmolested before slamming a right-footed shot past Zac MacMath from the edge of the penalty area.

Philadelphia had a chance to retake the lead, but Carlos Valdes couldn't redirect Sheanon Williams' cushion header into the net from a free kick in the 40th minute. A couple of minutes later, Josh Wolff did well to knock the ball back to White at the top of the box, but the defender's shot rolled just wide.

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D.C. United At Philadelphia Union: Starting Lineup Unchanged; Charlie Davies Out Sick, Freddy Adu On Bench

Ben Olsen has named an unchanged team from the side that defeated Real Salt Lake 4-1 at RFK Stadium on Saturday night. The only surprise absence from the gameday roster is Charlie Davies, who is recovering from a stomach virus.

Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak makes two changes from the starting lineup that drew 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City last Friday. Gabriel Farfan comes in for Kyle Nakazawa, while Sheanon Williams has recovered from a concussion and takes his place in the starting lineup. Freddy Adu and Justin Mapp start on the bench.

Full D.C. United Starting Lineup: Bill Hamid (GK), Perry Kitchen, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White, Marc Burch, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Stephen King, Austin da Luz, Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Wolff (Captain)

Available D.C. United Substitutes: Joe Willis (GK), Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Kurt Morsink, Joseph Ngwenya, Santino Quaranta, Blake Brettschneider

Full Philadelphia Union Starting Lineup: Zac MacMath (GK), Gabriel Farfan, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Veljko Paunovic, Sebastien Le Toux.

Available Philadelphia Union Substitutes: Chase Harrison (GK), Kyle Nakazawa, Joe Tait, Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Justin Mapp, Zach Pfeffer.

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D.C. United At Philadelphia Union: United Begin Crucial Road Swing

D.C. United begin a crucial stretch of the season with a tough road match against the Philadelphia Union.

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