On a night when the Union honored some of the team’s most distinguished former players, the current squad did something that their predecessors all too often didn’t: beat a rival in dominating fashion.
First-half goals by Kacper Przybylko, Brenden Aaronson, and Ilsinho proved more than enough to dismiss D.C. United, 3-1, before a crowd of 18,781 at Talen Energy Stadium that lookd and sounded the part.
The night started with Union manager Jim Curtin making some big changes to the lineup. Seeking a spark after last week’s poor loss at Chicago, Curtin switched the formation to a 4-2-3-1 and gave three players their first starts in a while: Aaronson (last start: July 28), Ilsinho (June 30), and Mark McKenzie (June 13).
It was just McKenzie’s third appearance of the year overall, with the only start coming in the U.S. Open Cup.
The changes delivered quickly for the Union (14-8-6, 48 points), as they scored the opening goal in just the fifth minute. Wagner and Aaronson played a lovely give-and-go down the left wing, then Wagner swung a low cross that Przybylko finished on the doorstep.
Aaronson doubled the lead 11 minutes later, with Przybylko serving as provider with an inch-perfect through ball up the middle. Aaronson’s teammates swarmed him in the celebration, thrilled to see the 18-year-old Medford native back on the field and playing well.
Przybylko got another assist in the 36th, setting Ilsinho up to work some magic in the 18-yard box. Once the Brazilian was through the back line, he slotted home coolly to the far post.
D.C. United (10-10-9, 39 points) got a goal back in the 56th from Luciano Acosta, the team’s star playmaker who nearly moved to French power Paris Saint-Germain before the season started. But the visitors rarely threatened otherwise.