An early goal flurry has seen Philadelphia beat DC United 3-2 to move into the playoff places in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
Striker Jack McInerney scored twice for Philadelphia, and Conor Casey notched the other goal as the Union took all three points home from their trip to the US capital.
The Union led 3-1 at half-time and while Lionard Pajoy struck for DC United three minutes after the break, the home side could not manage an equaliser, which saw them lose their fourth match in succession.
Philadelphia climbed above Columbus Crew and into fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points after Sunday’s victory, keeping them on track for just their second playoff appearance in four seasons.
Poor distribution from DC central defender Dejan Jakovic cost the home side the opening goal in the seventh minute.
As the Canadian advanced into midfield his pass was intercepted by Philadelphia’s Brian Carroll and the visitors counter-attacked to good effect.
McInerney received a pass from Casey and then took advantage of Jakovic and Brandon McDonald bumping into each other, slipping past United’s defenders and slotting the ball home.
Philadelphia were 2-0 up just four minutes later when Daniel Cruz teed up Casey and the centre forward’s shot was too strong for DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who got a hand to the ball but could not deflect it wide of his net.
In a frantic start to the match, DC struck back in the 17th minute, when a neat passing move through midfield resulted in McDonald releasing Dwayne De Rosario in behind the Union’s defence, who cut the ball back for Perry Kitchen to score.
But the Union had reinstated their two-goal lead by half-time after Sheanon Williams’ long throw in the 26th minute was flicked on to McInerney, who produced another smart finish.
In the 48th minute, Pajoy’s bullet-header from a left-wing cross put DC back in the game but the home side struggled to test Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath again and the Union held on to win.
In the other MLS clash on Sunday, substitute Adam Jahn struck a 92nd-minute equaliser as San Jose Earthquakes salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to Portland Timbers.
Diego Valeri had put the Timbers in front in the 58th minute and the visitors looked on track for their third win of the season until Jahn produced a first-time shot from Chris Wondolowski’s lay-off in second-half stoppage time to send the Earthquakes’ fans crazy.
The draw took San Jose to nine points and sixth in the Western Conference, one point and one spot behind Portland.