DC United have officially announced that they have completed the trade of TAM (Targeted Allocation Money) for Julian Gressel. Gressel arrives at Audi Field with a wealth of experience in his first couple of years in MLS and was part of the MLS Cup winning side of 2018. This is what DC United have had to say.
D.C. United have acquired midfielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United FC in exchange for $650,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) in 2020 and $100,000 in TAM in 2021 with additional compensation owed to Atlanta if incentives based on performance are met. “We’re excited to bring a player of Julian’s quality and pedigree to the club ahead of the 2020 season,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said. “He has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017. Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond.”
Player: Julian Gressel Position: Midfield Birthplace: Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany Country: Germany Birthdate: 12/16/1993 Age: 26 Height: 6’1” Weight: 185 Previous Club: Atlanta United FC Status: Green Card Transaction: D.C. United acquire Julian Gressel from Atlanta United in exchange for $650,000 in TAM in 2020 and $100,000 in 2021 with additional compensation owed to Atlanta if incentives based on performance are met.
A huge signing for DC, adding versatility and a much needed attacking force. Being able to play both in defence and in midfield, I am really looking forward to seeing him link up with Arriola and seeing him pulling on the black and red of DC United.
After the midweek win against Cincy, a lot of fans came into this one thinking we might be able to get a result here. 4 goals from open play, bit of swagger in the 2nd half and all was looking good. The big test was against the reigning MLS Cup champions. It wasn’t to be however, and it all started when news came out that Rooney hadn’t travelled with the team. Rumours were flying around but it turned out that he had picked up a few knocks in the previous game and needed the rest. This was only the 2nd time he missed a match since joining the Black & Red, the previous occasion was through suspension against Montreal Impact, the game I was in attendance for.
We set up with the same formation as the previous game, something I was surprised with, but happy. Acosta replaced Rooney as the lone forward, but as a false nine, so we didn’t play with any recognised striker, that I was not happy with, but Hamid came back to take his place in the sticks after being out for the Cincy game. And it all looked good in the 1st half, yes they had 70% possession, but we had a great counter attack, and we almost made them pay on a few occasions. Arriola with a couple of efforts and an almost assist for Rodriguez, but it was hit too far for him. The DC defence kept Josef Martinez at bay, only allowing half chances, and Bill Hamid was equal to every single one.
The 2nd half was a bit different, we didn’t look like we wanted to counter, and we were playing for the draw. Something no-one likes to see. Pines was doing his best covering the ground and getting some good tackles in, but it was just wave after wave of ATL attacks. Eventually they got themselves a penalty, after J Martinez went down in the box, replays showed very minimal contact, if there was any, and again for the 2nd game in a row, the penalty wasn’t double checked, why this isn’t the case with every single penalty I don’t know, but that is the state of play right now. And then, Josef Martinez became Josef Chokinez after he spooned his attempt over the bar, looking like a fool with his hop-skip-jump routine. Looks good when it goes in and fools the keeper, looks horrible when you miss like he did. Afterwards though, the other Martinez came on, Pity, and in the 89th minute, a cross comes in from the right, Pity strolling into the box unmarked, and heads it in. Where our defenders were, our defensive midfielders, I just don’t know. We had coped for that long and lost it there. We did go all out for the equalizer, however that was our undoing as J Martinez was fed through, was 1on1 with Hamid and he chipped it over him. Nothing Bill could do about that.
That’s how it ended. Mixed emotions with this game, gutted that we didn’t hold out, gutted we couldn’t take the chances in the 1st half, and annoyed that we seemingly played for a point in the 2nd half which left us with a defeat.
Bill Hamid has faced three penalties in 2019; none of which have been converted.
Luciano Acosta returned to the starting lineup after serving a two-game suspension for a red card against FC Dallas on July 4.
Bill Hamid returned to the starting lineup; he recorded four saves.
Donovan Pines started his second consecutive game for the Black-and-Red; he has made eight appearances in his rookie season.
United have a 5-3-0 record against Atlanta United all-time
The Black-and-Red are 1-3-0 on the road against Atlanta.
United are 4-4-3 on the road in 2019
Man of the Match
Difficult to come out with a best player for DC. But really one man did stand out from the rest, and that’s not because of his physique, but his overall play and the way he gets himself around the pitch. The rookie, Donovan Pines!
Our next match is against Chicago Fire on Saturday July 27th EST, or July 28th BST. Kicking off at 1am(ish) here in the UK.
Today’s game is at the spectacular Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And what’s better, it’s during normal hours for us in the UK! Kicking off at an advertised 9pm, but will be 9:08pm. No late night for this one. DC are fresh off a convincing win in Cincinnati and Atlanta from a win against Houston Dynamo. What can we expect from this evenings game?
Will we return with Acosta to the lineup? I would think Ben Olsen will, but I would love for us to keep with the same lineup as the game against Cincy, for two reasons. 1st being that we won, and why would you change a winning lineup? 2nd being that if you keep chopping and changing the lineup, consistency breaks.
After the win in mid-week, DC will be on a high, 4 great goals, all from open play too. Titi Rodriguez is on good form right now, Arriola scoring again, things are looking good, however, they do need to be wary of being over-confident. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is an arena that can be very intimidating. But we have won there and hopefully we can replicate how well we did on that rain soaked night at the beginning of the season.
The reigning champions, the team with Josef Martinez, they need to be watched, but with the likes of Bill Hamid (hopefully), Birnbaum & Brilliant should be able to sound him out. They are without Brek Shea who injured his ACL. We also have to be wary of Barco, the other Martinez, Pity, Gressel and Nagbe. Plenty for Olsen to think about and Moreno/Canouse will have their work cut out.
Their form has been very indifferent, not putting any back to back wins in the last 6 ties. It’s very similar to ours. Their home form has been very good though, not getting beat in the last 6. This will be a very tough game for us.
I’m going for a repeat of earlier in the season. I think we will have a bit of confidence about us. I’m hoping we will keep the same lineup, with the addition of Hamid in goal, but in the event that Olsen does an Olsen, Acosta usually plays his best against this lot. So hopefully, either way, we will get a good game to watch later.
Welcome to the 1st edition of In The News. In these posts we will be looking back on DC United news from the past week, and this could be literally anything from transfers, to injuries, well anything newsworthy. We will round up the best of the best.
‘Our priority is to get him under contract’: D.C. United wants Luciano Acosta to stick around
Washington Post had some news from Dave Kasper in the progress of getting Luciano Acosta’s contract sorted.
In a meeting Tuesday with editors and reporters from The Washington Post, Kasper said: “Certainly our priority is to get him under contract. If we are not able to, we will address it at that time, but that is our goal. We want to win a title this year. We want to keep him here all year. There may be a temptation in the summer window to sell him, but we want to win.”
Acosta’s contract is into its final year, and with PSG hunting for him back in January, he is free to talk to foreign clubs when the 6mth period comes up. Now this is something of a talking point. Do D.C let him go on a free? Or do we want to make him into a legend of a club? From a fans point of view, you would want him to stay, who wouldn’t? He is magical on the field and the partnership he has with Rooney is something else. Drop a comment below with your thoughts?
In other transfer news, three of DC United’s players will join Loudon United for their 1st match. Full back Akeem Ward, Centre Back Donovan Pines and Attacker Antonio Bustamante. No news whether this extends beyond just the one match, it would be strange if it didn’t. What I am liking about this partnership with Loudon is now DC United have a proper 2nd team for those players who wouldn’t normally be a part of the starting squad to go out and get some game time. I am certainly looking forward to seeing the fruits of this partnership.
DC United Head Coach Ben Olsen giving his thoughts on the next match
As I said after the game, we have to this with a grain of salt
Just this line alone shows how down to Earth he is. He was pleased with how the team played, and how we managed to get a shutout, a goal from a set-piece too. But he is also aware of how different NYCFC are compared to Atlanta. It’s a new look team and a different style of play to play against.
Here are some of the headlines and links from last weekends match
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned here for further news which will come out a bit more regularly. Let us know any of your thoughts below and if there is anything you want to see. Also you can donate to help the cause and you can have your name in “lights” over on the donation page.
On a wet and chilly evening at Audi Field, MLS Cup champions came to town after the 1st round win in the Champions League. The lineup was as predicted in my match preview with debuts being handed to Jara and Rodriguez. Expecting to be fresher than DC United, it was anything but for the title holders. DCU came out all guns blazing with their new style of play and identity, high pressing, solid defence and a lot of movement up top. Rooney & Arriola showing early doors what this style of play can do by combining well down the right. And then Jara getting involved too by having a chance but Guzan with a well-timed save. 32mins in and Arriola had the best chance of the game so far but ended up putting far wide. With half-time fast approaching, I tweeted a poll asking if a goal would arrive by half time, 80% said no. Arriola had something to say about that as he tucked in an effort with the last kick of the 45. Well deserved from DCU. With the 2nd half underway, it was more of the same, whatever Ben Olsen said worked it’s wonders, while you could tell it was the 1st game of the season as tired legs were beginning to show, DC were putting the effort in. Rodriguez with an effort after getting through on goal, but again Guzan with the save. Things turned worse for the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough keeper as he was what he must feel like, a mile away from saving Acosta’s effort that was straight down the middle of the goal. Yes there was some curl in it, but any keeper would rightly save that one. Things started to ease off, Atlanta were shooting from long range, Hamid making a good couple of saves, but nothing else of note happened. Game finished 2-0 to DCU, and they continue their good record against ATL.
Match Ratings Hamid – 7 Only needed a couple of occasions, but did what was required Jara – 7 Solid 1st half, didn’t see much of him in the 2nd Birnbaum – 8 Kept the ATL attack at bay throughout the evening Brillant – 8 Same as Birnbaum, just solid at the back Mora – 7 Good going forward, solid at the back Moreno – 7 Good passing, got himself about Canouse – 7 Got forward on occasion, needs to improve finishing Arriola – 9 Constant threat going forward, creating chances and getting on the scoresheet too Acosta – 8 Movement off the ball was very good, passing spot on and bagged himself a goal too Rodriguez – 7 Good debut, great movement up top, good tackling and had a couple of opportunities Rooney – 7 Didn’t stop, ended up dropping back a bit in the 2nd half so had less chances, the one he did have, he put way over the bar.
Segura – 6 Not much chance of making any headway Durkin – N/A not enough time on the pitch
Score Prediction – 3-1. I got the goal difference right, and I’d take the actual result of 2-0 over the 3-1, it means that we kept a clean sheet and that means more than the 3 goals to me.
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
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.