The Philadelphia Union earned another big win in the Eastern Conference, notching a 2-0 victory over host D.C. United on Wednesday night at Audi Field.
C.J. Sapong opened the scoring in the 29th minute, knocking in the rebound after forward Cory Burke's initial shot was saved by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Philadelphia extended its lead in the 61st minute, taking advantage of a generous amount of space conceded by D.C.'s defenders. Borek Dockal and Sapong had plenty of room to string together a pair of passes that found Fabrice-Jean Picault in front of the net for the final touch.
Philadelphia has now won four consecutive games, all against Eastern rivals (D.C., New York City FC and two wins over New England). The winning streak has solidified the Union's chances at a playoff spot, and the club now sits just one point behind Columbus for fourth place in the conference.
The loss dropped United 12 points behind Philadelphia, and D.C. and the other Eastern playoff hopefuls may now be chasing only sixth-place Montreal for a postseason berth.
D.C. was shut out for just the fourth time this season, though they have now been held scoreless in consecutive matches. The club didn't generate much consistent attack on Wednesday, possibly owing to the humid temperatures or perhaps just fatigue due to two games within a 72-hour span.
The absence of co-leading scorer Yamil Asad also clearly hampered D.C.'s ability to create pressure up front. Asad didn't dress for Wednesday's game, as he is still recovering from the ankle injury that forced him to make an early exit from United's 1-0 loss to New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
D.C. did manage a pair of strong chances in the opening 10 minutes, as a Wayne Rooney attempt hit the post and Paul Arriola fired a hard shot that was saved by Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, who had three saves.
An apparent handball in the box from Philadelphia defender Jack Elliott in the 44th minute was deemed incidental by the referee, who didn't turn to video review for a second look. D.C. United received only a corner kick, rather than the penalty kick the team's players and sideline argued was deserved.