Match Preview: DCU vs ATL

Welcome to the opener for DC United’s 2019 season. Here we look ahead to Sunday’s fixture and some key facts & figures between these two sides previously. But 1st, here is Ben Olsen speaking to the press before the match.

He talks about how the club is further ahead than this time last season as we have a “nucleus” of players. But he is also wary of how adding a couple of players can disturb that. He does point out the key partnerships all over the pitch, from the LuchoRoo pairing, to Canouse & Moreno, to Steve & Fred. What this shows is that DC are set for a great team chemistry, this is the backbone of the team. If DC are to be successful, we need to be free of injuries, but if/when there are, we need the likes of Durkin, Ward, Amarikwa and everyone else to be able to foster the partnerships required on the pitch.

Head to Head
  • Played 6 matches
  • DC United won 4 to Atlanta’s 2 victories with 0 draws
  • Average of 3.33 goals a game
  • DC have scored 11 goals to Atlanta’s 9
  • Most recent victory to DC was September 2nd 2018 (3-1)
  • Michael Parkhurst has scored two own goals in this fixture

Key Players

For DC United, this is a big season for both Luciano Acosta and Wayne Rooney. For this side to be successful these guys need to remain fit and be consistent. Rooney leads from the front, and since his introduction to MLS, he has brought the team on leaps and bounds. It’s not just his play that has turned the team around, but his confidence, belief and knowledge that he has been able to pass on to his teammates that has brought everyone to the next level. The partnership that instantly formed with Acosta was better than anyone could have ever expected. The man between the sticks is going to be someone who will be key in this fixture. Bill Hamid who will be looking to perform as well as he can to try and earn himself a deserved call up to the USMNT. He’ll be looking to keeping anything from Martinez out of the net and commanding that back four to keep the ATL attack at bay.

For Atlanta, they’ll once again be looking to Josef Martinez. The gum-shield wearing forward will no doubt be trying to replicate his record-breaking season again. He has scored against DC before and it’ll be up to Birnbaum & Brillant to keep him in their back pockets. Gressel will no doubt be looking to influence the match from the midfield, but will the loss of Almiron to EPL side Newcastle Utd be hard felt? They’ll also be looking to Brad Guzan in goal for shut-outs throughout the season, but against the LuchoRoo, he didn’t have a good time when he was last at Audi Field.

My lineup prediction

The lineup speaks for itself really, Jara coming in at right back and Rodriguez replacing Asad who has gone back to Velez. Everyone else, the core “nucleus” of the side is still intact. That scare from Acosta possibly going to PSG didn’t materialise so we still have him sitting in behind Rooney being that playmaker. I expect Mora to continue working hard down the left side of the pitch. And Rooney spearheading that attack up top.

My score prediction – DC United 3-1 Atlanta United

I think Rooney will be heavily involved, but I also think Martinez is too good to keep quiet for a full 90 minutes. I do hope I’m proved wrong in that fact though.

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