The game-deciding tally came off a rare defensive error by Philadelphia in the 76th minute. A lazy pass from the defensive backfield was intercepted by Man U forward Danny Welbeck, who drew the attention of three Union defenders, and dished out a perfect ball to Gabriel Obertan from ten yards out. The frenchman finished clinically to take the lead.
The Union, who are in their first season of existence, surprised a partisan Manchester United crowd, dominating possession at times throughout the match, and actually outshooting the Red Devils 16-11 on the night.
Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux helped Philadelphia look very impressive in the first half. The Union were blocked three times inside the penalty area, and Mwanga made a habit of setting up golden opportunities throughout the first half.
In the 11th minute, the rookie from Oregon State played a perfect cross to Alejandro Moreno, but Moreno’s shot was relatively weak and somewhat easily caught.
The best chance of the match for the Union came in the 42nd minute, when Mwanga led a three-on-two break, but he led Le Toux just a bit too much on the left side, and the frenchman’s shot was just wide. In the 50th minute, Mwanga set up an almost identical play for fellow rookie Jack McInerney, but with similar results.
Following a batch of subs after the first hour, Manchester United started to look a bit better on the pitch, and a pair of questionable decisions took away two very good chances for the Red Devils. Obertan appeared to fall in the box in the 66th minute, and just two minutes later, Berbatov was ruled offside when he appeared even on the replay.
Berbatov almost doubled the lead as he put a shot off the crossbar in the 80th minute when a scrum in front of the goal saw a ball fall to his feet.
Philadelphia still almost emerged from the match with a tie as Nick Zimmerman was somehow freed up the left side of the penalty area. Andrew Jacobson made a great run in front of goal, but sent it over the crossbar from four yards out.
The Union will head to Harrisburg, Penn., to take on the the USL-2 side Harrisburg City Islanders in another friendly. Manchester United will be the featured opponent in next week’s MLS All-Star match.