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Podcast: Episode 8

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In this episode I chat with Ben Olsen where he will be answering not just my questions, but some of yours too.  Find out the past, present and future with Ben.  

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Before Intro Song – FormantX – Destiny Rising – https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/BGlHlMSuB7
Theme Song – Tigerblood Jewel – Cool Shoes Man https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/bp0KRwTXT6
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Match Report: DC United 2-1 Inter Miami

In a game in which DC United need to bounce back from the home defeat in the last match, they duly did. But it wasn’t without a struggle. DC were up against a side who are making their 1st visit ever to Audi Field and only just got beat by a very strong LAFC the week before.

Inter Miami came with the star studded feel to them, the “elegant light coloured uniform”, and they certainly came to make an impression on the field. They got underway and within 2 minutes, they were 1-0 up. Rodolfo Pizarro scoring Inter Miami’s first ever goal in their history. A poor pass in the middle by Russel Canouse gifting them the possession, it finds Lewis Morgan on the right who cuts the ball back and Pizarro has a tap in.

The next big moment came when Erik Sorga came on in the 15th minute, Ola Kamara heading off due to a hamstring injury and forcing Ben Olsen into an early change. Erik Sorga making his DC & MLS debut. DC then had their first real opportunity of the game when a cross came in from the right side and Asad had his header blocked by Romain Torres. In a half in which not a whole deal happened, there was a huge amount of added time, firstly due to Kamara’s injury but then Mora also went down, similar injury and on came O’Neil Fisher for his first appearance since September 2018. And within the same added time, Robbie Robinson also went down injured too after Birnbaum fell onto his leg. A total of 9 minutes added were played in the first half.

Overall the first half was one in which Inter Miami dominated, pressed, wanted the ball more and were willing to put 3 players onto a man to win the ball back. This pressured DC into losing the ball. Things needed to change in the 2nd half if DC were to get anything out of this game.

2nd half kicked off and Inter Miami had already put the ball in the back of the net within 2 minutes again. DC really slow out of the blocks, however this time it was chalked off due to an earlier incident. That incident was a ball through behind the Miami defence, Gressel And Torres challenging for the ball and Torres deliberately handles it away from Gressel, denying him a goalscoring opportunity. Thankfully VAR picked this up, the ref went over to the monitor and cancelled out the goal, but not only that, he gave Torres a red card reducing them down to 10 men. In the next 12 minutes, in what can only be described as an implosion, Miami were down 2-1. Firstly giving away a penalty, Ulloa bringing down Flores in the box, making a mess of his clearance, up steps Asad to coolly slot hit home.

And then in the 60th minute of the game, Will Trap gives away a free kick, effort on goal hits the post and Brillant hammers the ball into the roof of the net, a true poachers effort (yes I know he is a centre back).

Miami continued to lose their way by giving away a number of free kicks, but Pizarro continued to be a threat. A really impressive performance and if they are to make anything of this season, he will need to stay fit and continue in this form. In the last 10-15 minutes of the game, Miami were playing the better football, DC went into defensive mode to hold onto the lead, only going for the counter attacks, in which Sorga did spur a couple of opportunities. Miami had a good couple of efforts towards the end and one last header in the 96th minute in which Hamid came up on top again with some safe hands. Almost gifted a goal straight after by nearly throwing it into his own net.

After 98 minutes the final whistle blew and DC took their first points of the season and Inter Miami, who could feel hard done by because of their performances, still remain on 0.

Match Facts

  • Yamil Asad scored a penalty in the 59th minute to equalize for the Black-and-Red. This marked his first goal since returning to the club with his last coming against Montreal on August 4, 2018.
  • Frédéric Brillant scored the game-winning goal in the 61st minute. It was his first goal of the season, with his last coming on Sept. 22, 2019 in a 2-0 win over Seattle. 
  • Erik Sorga made his MLS and D.C. United debut as a 15th minute substitute. 
  • Oniel Fisher made his first appearance for the club since September 29, 2018 as a stoppage time substitute in the first half. 
  • This was the first meeting between the two clubs. 
  • D.C. United are now 1-0-0 against Inter Miami all time.
  • The Black-and-Red are 1-1-0 at home this season.
  • United’s last meeting against a club making their debut in MLS was a 4-1 win over F.C. Cincinnati on July 18, 2019. 
  • D.C. United are 20-7-7 at Audi Field all-time.

Lineups

D.C. United lineup: Bill Hamid; Russel Canouse, Frédéric Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora (Oneil Fisher 45’+4’), Felipe, Júnior Moreno, Julian Gressel, Edison Flores, Yamil Asad (Chris Odoi-Atsem 73’), Ola Kamara (Erik Sorga 15’)
Unused Substitutes: Earl Edwards Jr., Mohammed Abu, Emmanuel Boateng, Griffin Yow

Inter Miami CF Lineup: Luis Robles, Andrés Reyes, Román Torres, Nicolás Figal, Dylan Nealis, Victor Ulloa, Wil Trapp (Matías Pellegrini 77’), Ben Sweat, Lewis Morgan, Robbie Robinson (Juan Agudelo 45’+8’), Rodolfo Pizzaro 
Unused Substitutes: John McCarthy, AJ Delagarza JR, Mikey Ambrose, Lee Nguyen, Jay Chapman, Juan Agudelo

Man of the Match

Post-match Press Conference

Up Next

We have FC Cincinatti on March 14th on the road. Kick off is 9:30pm(ish) but is not being broadcast on TV here in the UK.

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Match Preview: DC United vs Inter Miami

Gameweek 2 is here and we are up against expansion side Inter Miami. After the disappointment of the late defeat by Colorado Rapids, Ben Olsen’s side will be wanting to right those wrongs. We saw last week that there were tired legs and despite having fresh legs available, Ben decided to not use them as they weren’t tall enough. Hopefully he won’t be using that excuse this week as he uses all 3 subs if needed (we hope).

We take on Inter Miami for the 1st time in our history and we will be wanting to get off to a good start. Inter Miami last week put in a solid performance against a top LAFC side, only to get beat by a fantastic Carlos Vela goal, seriously, does he not know how to score a simple goal? What can we expect from our lads though? Here are my thoughts.

DC United

I don’t expect Ben to be making any changes and I will actually like that. Not changing for changing sake. We had spells of good football and if he chops and changes already, we will never gel. We played a 4-3-3 last week, a refreshing change from the 4-2-3-1 of 2019. I’d still like to see at some point us play with 2 strikers, but the 4-3-3 is something I can definitely get behind.

Of course we’ve got the new boys of Federico ‘Pipa’ Higuain and Mohammed Abu, but don’t expect them to go straight into the lineup. It’s already been announced by DC that Moses Nyeman & Kevin Paredes will be with Loudoun United for this weekend. I expect both new signings to be on the bench.

Inter Miami

Expansion side Inter Miami have finally entered MLS, after such a long wait for David Beckham to find and establish his side, they got underway with a game against Supporters Shield winners LAFC. And they put in a good performance, only getting beat 1-0 thanks to a Carlos Vela goal. I caught up with Sam who runs the Inter Miami UK fan page on Twitter and I spoke to him about what the strengths & weaknesses were.

Preview clip from Season 2 Episode 4 – Full episode available here

From what we’ve been told we can attack the flanks and try and nullify their playmakers as they only have Superdraft pick Robbie Robinson in the striker ranks. We normally have a solid defence and with Moreno and Felipe beginning to form a solid midfield partnership, we will be looking to them to press and nullify any key players.

Match Prediction

After the defeat last week, I expect a bit of a backlash from the team, especially from the manner of said defeat. I would think we would be attacking from the kick off, especially since we are at home. We should be showing the new boys how it’s done and the old guard know best. We still need to respect them as they do have an abundance of fantastic footballers, saying that though, I expect a victory from us today.

Where to watch

You can catch the game in the UK over on Freesports TV. The game programme starts at 8:45pm so the advertised kick off of 8:30pm won’t exactly be accurate. Classic MLS.

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Blog Podcast

Podcast: Episode 4

In this episode I chat with Ken Ackerson of DCU_Soccer & Sarah Kallassy as we take a look back at the game against Colorado Rapids and look forward to the game against Inter Miami. Also featuring on the show is Russell Canouse & Sam from Inter Miami UK

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Match Report: DCU 1-2 Colorado Rapids

The start of the 25th season of MLS came and went, DC seemingly had a good offseason off the pitch as the Front Office listened to the fans and installed safe seating, the social media content was getting better and there were good vibes everywhere. It looked like we could get off to a great start. I was full of hope and optimism, seeing the likes of Flores and Gressel in the 11 and then with Asad & Sorga on the bench, I felt good.

Just under 17,000 (16,932 to be exact) were in attendance for the defeat by Colorado Rapids. From what I had seen and been told, it was freezing temperatures. The 1st half had lots of energy but a lot of scrappy play, which to be fair, for a first game of the season, that is to be expected. Nothing hugely clear cut from either side however, we did have a goal chalked off for offside. Flores moving just a little too early, but with a great header just inside the far post. And then moments later, Felipe had an effort fantastically saved by the Colorado keeper Clint Irwin. With neither side finding the back of the net, it finished 0-0 in the first half.

2nd half kicks off, and Colorado were looking the more energetic, keeping the ball, having some fluid attacking moves down the wings, really opening up the play. Kei Kamara doing what he does best and being a pain in the neck for the CB’s. Sam Nicholson looked good down the Rapids right hand side. But it was DCU who broke the deadlock. A cracking corner from Gressel, who had been lethal from the set piece all game, whips it in towards the far post, Canouse peels away from his marker and is left alone to nod in the 1st goal of the season. Then 7 minutes later, it was 1-1. A ball came in from the right and Kei Kamara moved in to also head home. No-one picked him up, it seemed that Brillant should have been the one and he didn’t get in front of him.

Yamil Asad came on for Flores which appeared to change how we played, and it was great to see him back. Asad has a more direct running approach compared to Flores. However we looked very leggy, tiredness seemed to dictate how we played after he came on. We fell into a more defensive shape and it felt like DCU of the back half of 2019. Ben not using his subs as they were not tall enough was not a good reason to not use them.

And the tiredness kicked in when in added time we conceded the winner, in the 92nd minute Canouse’s clearance didn’t really make it out of the box, and up steps Jonathan Lewis to slot it home to take the kick out of DC United’s home opener.

Match Facts

  • Russell Canouse scored his first goal of 2020; his second career goal. 
  • Julian Gressel recorded his first career assist for the Black-and-Red; his 36th career MLS assist.
  • Edison Flores made his D.C. United and MLS debut as a starter.
  • Julian Gressel made his D.C. United debut as a starter.
  • D.C. United are 21-14-10 against Colorado all-time. 
  • The Black-and-Red started their second full-season at Audi Field since opening in July 2018.
  • D.C. United are 19-7-7 at Audi Field all-time. 

Lineups

D.C. United lineup: Bill Hamid; Joseph Mora, Steven Birnbaum, Frédéric Brillant, Russel Canouse; Felipe, Júnior Moreno; Ulises Segura, Julian Gressel, Edison Flores (Yamil Asad 71′); Ola Kamara 
Unused Substitutes: Chris Seitz, Oniel Fisher, Kevin Paredes, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Erik Sorga

Colorado Rapids Lineup: Clint Irwin, Keegan Rosenberry, Drew Moor, Lalas Abubakar, Sam Vines, Kellyn Acosta, Jack Price, Younes Namil (Nicolás Mezquida 64′), Sam Nicholson (Jonathan Lewis 85′), Andre Shinyashiki (Diego Rubio 80′), Kei Kamara 
Unused Substitutes: Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne, Cole Bassett, Andre Rawls

Man of the Match

Post match press conference

Up next

We have expansion side Inter Miami at Audi Field on March 7th. Kick off is 8:30pm(ish) and is being shown on Freesports here in the UK.

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Blog Match Preview

Match Preview: DC United vs Colorado Rapids

MLS IS BACK! And it is ready for the 25th season. I cannot wait for the game to begin. I feel we’ve had a great off-season with some of the signings we have made. Julian Gressel, Yamil Asad, Edison Flores and Bill Hamid. Each an important deal. It hasn’t been without issues though, we’ve obviously lost Wayne Rooney and Lucho Acosta, but we’ve also lost Paul Arriola to injury for the season and Donovan Pines has had an injury during Preseason. We’ve had a fairly ok preseason if you were to look at the results, 3W-2L-1T, but generally, they’re for fitness more than anything.

Will this be 10th season lucky for Ben Olsen? He enters his 10th season as DC United head coach, and apart from a US Open Cup, he hasn’t had much to shout about. In the UK, Ben would more than likely have seen the exit, only a handful of managers last this long nowadays, and that could be seen as incredible patience by the Front Office. I know Steve Gibson of Middlesbrough is like that and normally patience is rewarded. Sometimes not this patient but patient nonetheless.

Onto the game, what can we expect from both sides this weekend?

DC United

I’m expecting new signings of Gressel and Flores to be starting in the lineup with Asad being on the bench. I think we might also see some of the homegrown talents in the 18. Fisher is back fit and he will be like a new signing after missing all of 2019. I think we will have a strong 11 out this weekend. Formation wise I think we will look at a 4-2-3-1 formation, the way we played in 2018/19. Ben doesn’t shy away from sticking with his tried and true methods unless he has no other choice.

Colorado Rapids

They are now without Tim Howard who has retired, they have a single DP, Younes Namli, and he only arrived during the offseason. They do have some good experience up top with Kei Kamara. He is a player who should be watched carefully, but also Shinyashiki who was Rookie of the Year 2019.
Finishing 9th in the Western Conference, the season could’ve been much worse as they did have a strong back end, winning 5 out of the last 8 games they had. 2020 is a new year though, and they have a new coach who is in his 1st full season with the club. All to play for this year.

Match Prediction

Tough to say, 1st game of the season and it will be all up in the air. This preseason for pretty much all teams hasn’t been your traditional style of preseason. I’ve learnt what a scrimmage is (less than a friendly), and the games have all been pretty much behind closed doors. DC United more so as only one game was streamed, so trying to work out how we played has been very difficult. But saying that, there is a score prediction, which I announced on the most recent episode of the podcast. That score predictions is…

My score prediction

Where to watch

Well, it’s not being broadcast on TV here in the UK, so it’ll be the standard streaming through Bet365.

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Podcast: S2 Ep3 is now out!

On this episode James Lambert & Jon Lee join me for the episode before the season opener. We discuss all sorts, James gives us a run down about the Screaming Eagles, Jon tells us about the new postgame show, and at the end, predictions about what we think the score will be. Tune in to the show and let us know your thoughts.
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MLSPA & MLS reach new CBA agreement

For those of you who don’t know, the MLS Players Association (MLSPA) is an organisation that looks after players who play in MLS and they do that by agreeing with Major League Soccer (MLS) some ground rules for things like pay, benefits, wellbeing and the wider community too.

We empower the players by establishing a supportive community and unified voice that positively impacts the lives of our past, current and future members.

MLSPA mission – https://mlsplayers.org/about-us/our-mission

The current agreement did end at the end of January 2020, with a mini extension to find a new agreement. If this hadn’t been done then we could have seen MLS 2020 not start. What has been done then? Thankfully the MLSPA have made a nice infographic showing what has been done.

MLSPA Infographic

And this is taken from MLSPA.

Washington, D.C. (February 6th, 2020 ) – The MLS Players Association (MLSPA) announced today that they have reached agreement on the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Major League Soccer (MLS), pending a full ratification vote by the players and the league’s Board of Governors.
The new five-year CBA commences with the beginning of the 2020 season and runs through January 2025. Under the historic deal, free agency rights will increase dramatically while the percentage of eligible players more than doubles. Salary budgets and player compensation will experience steady growth that by the end of the deal will take the average salary over $500,000 and the senior minimum salary over $100,000. Additionally, owners will continue to invest in players on and off the field. For the first time in league history, the CBA includes mandatory charter legs for team travel that grow incrementally during the term of the agreement.
“This deal is the culmination of our efforts to engage players from every team to define our goals and push for real progress,” said Jeff Larentowicz, MLSPA Executive Board Member. “Through this work and our solidarity, we have been able to reach an agreement that will provide players with greater rights and increased compensation, and will ensure that the league’s resources continue to be used to create a league of choice for players both on and off the field.”
The agreement locks in increases in the league’s investment in player benefits as well dramatic increases to individual and team performance-based compensation. With the league’s existing local, national, and international media rights deals set to expire at the end of the 2022 season, the new agreement also creates a first-ever revenue sharing agreement between players and owners to ensure that increases in media rights revenue will mean further increases to player compensation.
“Players have secured an agreement that will substantially change what it means to be an MLS player,” said Bob Foose, Executive Director of the MLSPA. “Over the past two years, we have engaged in a substantive, comprehensive negotiation process with the league. We believe that the sweeping changes and increased investment in this agreement will not only be integral to the league’s continued growth, but will also move MLS closer to the systems in place in overseas leagues with which we aspire to compete.”

MLSPA – https://mlsplayers.org/news/mlspa-and-mls-reach-tentative-agreement-on-new-cba

The key points that I have taken away from this is that the Senior Minimum Salary is going to increase, the chartered flights increase, which I’m still amazed that they don’t allow all of them to be that way and the increased performance bonuses too. There are other items like the media revenue sharing and the free agency changes too. Each bit is a good thing and no doubt that they will look to continue improving wherever possible.

Do you agree with the new CBA? Is there anything you think they should have had more of? Drop a comment on social or down below.

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DCU Jersey revealed at NYC Show

Last night saw the #FORWARD25 event in NYC in which all the new jerseys were revealed. Each team had someone who represented their side walk out with the shirt on and of course, for DC United we had our legend, the great Jaime Moreno.

You may have seen the leak from last week, and the jersey was true to that, but here is Ola Kamara donning that shirt.

Image taken by Paul-Michael Ochoa for MLS

As mentioned, Jaime Moreno was at the event and the folks at MLS were there capturing everything and they had an interview with him post event. Here is what was said.

Video courtesy of MLS

Do you like the shirt? I know some of you are not overly happy, what would you have? Drop some comments on social.

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