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Match Report

Match Report: TFC vs DCU

MLS is Back! 128 days since the win against Inter Miami and despite the delays to the game, it was certainly entertaining. If I hadn’t shaved my hair off, I don’t think I would have had much left of it after this game. A proper game of two halves, rollercoaster of emotions and a game that really had it all. Where do we begin with this one? Let’s go from the beginning.

This game was due to be played on Friday evening, however this was delayed due to Toronto arriving late into Orlando. Roll on Sunday, things are shaping up well, I’m doing an exclusive event, then, shortly before the kick off was supposed to happen, it comes out that the game has been postponed due to a player on either side testing positive for Covid-19. Not exactly great but it’s always best to do this to ensure player safety. Not happy with how it happened I must say though. Match get’s delayed by 24hrs, I’m back at work so I have to make do with whatever I can watch. So here goes, the 1st report, albeit not really full, for 4 months.

That 1st half, it could not have gotten much worse from our perspective. We started very sluggish, defence not really clicking, the attack not firing, just a bit all over the place. I was watching through Bet365 so I was able to hear everyone on the pitch and sidelines. Hamid was yelling away, but to be honest, it didn’t do a huge amount. Two goals from Akinola, the first coming from just outside the box and a thunderstrike into the far corner, the 2nd being a tap in after a Brillant was caught flat footed with a failed rugby tackle allowed Pozuelo to assist. To add insult to injury, Junior Moreno is sent off for two bookable offences, offences he should have easily avoided. I’m sure Ben Olsen will not have been happy with this, especially so after the 2nd booking came deep into 1st half added time. I was able to catch up with all of this as I was on my lunch break from work. The 2nd half I had to make do with what I could.

The 2nd half had an incredible end to it. After not a huge amount happening for the first 25/30mins, it suddenly ruptured into life. Felipe Martins threading a first time ball through to debutant Federico Higuain (for his 50th assist), who, with all the composure and class in the world, cheekily lobs it over the Toronto keeper. It always seemed like it would be a consolation goal. Down to 10 men, surely we couldn’t do the comeback. 90 minutes comes around, 6 minutes of added time on the clock, DCU get a free kick from deep. The ball comes in from Felipe, nodded across goal by Birnbaum and headed in by Brillant, a looping header over the top of the keeper. DCU wrap up a comeback and get a point, a vital point in what seemed to be a game which we could have walked out with an embarrassment.

To me this shows the heart of the team, against all odds they worked their socks off and got something from it. I feel like I have said that a lot previously, and I wish we didn’t have to go through this, but isn’t this what we follow a team for? To go through those highs and lows together. I wish I could have enjoyed it more with you all together, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Other things to take note of, this was Federico Higuains debut for the club, a fantastic way to make your debut. Also, it was youngster Kevin Paredes’ debut after he came on for Julian Gressel. I’ve had messages about how good he looked from fans of other teams. Goes to show how good he looked and we have a hot prospect for the future. Brillant has for the first time scored in back to back matches and DCU are the first side since 2007 to have been 2 goals down and have a man sent off to make a comeback.

Up next is New England Revolution, for us in the UK it’s at 1am this Friday/Saturday, I’ll be up watching this one.

Player Notes

  • Kevin Paredes replaced Julian Gressel in the 57th minute to make his debut for D.C. United.
  • Federico Higuaín came on for Ulises Segura in the 80th minute to make his debut for the Black-and-Red; Higuaín scored his first goal for United in the 84th minute.
  • Felipe Martins recorded his 50th career assist in MLS on Higuaín’s goal in the 84th minute.
  • Frédéric Brillant has scored in consecutive MLS matches for the first time in his career.

#DCvTOR

  • D.C. United are 14-10-9 against Toronto FC in club history. 

Match Notes

  • The Black-and-Red played their first match in 128 days after beating Inter Miami CF 2-1 on March 7.
  • D.C. United are now tied for second place in Group C of the MLS is Back Tournament. 
  • D.C. United are the first team in MLS since 2007 to earn a point after having a player sent off while trailing by two or more goals. 

D.C. United lineup: Bill Hamid; Joseph Mora (Chris Odoi-Atsem, 69′), Steven Birnbaum, Frédéric Brillant, Russell Canouse; Felipe Martins, Júnior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Federico Higuaín, 80′), Julian Gressel (Kevin Paredes, 57′), Edison Flores (Yamil Asad, 57′); Ola Kamara (Oniel Fisher, HT) 
Unused Substitutes: Earl Edwards Jr., Mohammed Abu, Donovan Pines, Moses Nyeman, Griffin Yow

Toronto FC’s Lineup: Quentin Westberg; Auro, Omar Gonzalez (Erik Zavaleta, 64′), Chris Mavinga (Laurent Ciman, 64′), Justin Morrow (Richie Laryea, HT); Tsubasa Endoh, Marco Delgado, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Pozuelo (Nick DeLeon, 78′); Pablo Piatti (Erickson Gallardo, 73′), Ayo Akinola  
Unused Substitutes: Alex Bono, Liam Fraser, Noble Okello, Griffin Dorsey, Jayden Nelson, Jacob Shaffelburg, Patrick Mullins

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News

D.C. United To Begin Voluntary Small Group Training at Audi Field on June 4

After the MLS & MLSPA agreed upon a new CBA that will be seen through to 2025, the 2020 season can be resumed, and with that, training. Club statement below.

D.C. United will begin voluntary small group training at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 4. 
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday, May 28 that clubs may begin to use outdoor team training fields for small group training sessions in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts.  
D.C. United will implement the following plan approved by the league and local government officials, inclusive of detailed health and safety protocols based on consultations with local and national health professionals and adhere to the following guidelines:

Players will only have access to the field at Audi Field, as indoor facilities remain closed to all players with the exception of those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation under the direction of club medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residences.

Audi Field can be divided into a maximum of two equal halves and a group of players will be assigned to each full or half field.  

Audi Field can be divided into up to six zones per half field, spaced at least 10 feet apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time in order to maintain physical distancing standards throughout the session. For clarity, a maximum of six players may be assigned to a single group with each player accommodated in a separate zone.

During training sessions, players may switch zones within their own group only if another player is not currently in that zone and players must maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from all other players and coaches while moving between zones.

Within a single group, players may pass the ball and shoot on goal; however, all training exercises must allow players to maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from one another.

Players may only train with the other players within their own group and may not interact with other groups. While the groups may not be rearranged during a single training session, clubs may rearrange the combination of players in each group from session to session.

Coaches and technical staff must wear a face mask at all times and may direct players from the perimeter of the field, never entering the field, while maintaining at least 10-feet of distance from other staff and players.

Only approved equipment may be used during the training session including balls; small and regular goals; rubber dots; small discs and cones; rebounders; rings; GPS Pods and personal equipment that is not shared between players. Mannequins, poles, bands, weights and ball machines may not be used.

Goalkeepers may not spit on their gloves and must clean, disinfect and sanitize their gloves after each training.

In addition to the health and safety protocols found above, D.C. United will continue to maintain the health and safety protocols implemented during the club’s voluntary individual workout session, hosted at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA, home of D.C. United’s United Soccer League (USL) affiliate, Loudoun United FC, on Friday, May 29, including:

Restricting training ground access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.

Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.

Completion of a Standard Screening questionnaire by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.

Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.

Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to his designated position on the field, and again on return to the parking lot.

Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.

Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after sessions.

An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.

The league-wide moratorium on full team training remains in place through, and including, Monday, June 1.

The small group training protocol set by Major League Soccer prohibits media access to club training facilities, restricting access to players and essential staff only.

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News

D.C. United Begin Individual Workouts at Segra Field

News has come out that D.C. United will begin individual workouts at the clubs USL team Loudoun United’s stadium Segra Field. From what has been said this will be a watered down version of training and only essential staff will be on site. This begins as of tomorrow and while it is great to see some progress being made, it will still be a while before we get back to normality. Full club statement below.

D.C. United have announced that the club will begin voluntary individual outdoor workouts for players at Segra Field in Leesburg, Va, home of D.C. United’s United Soccer League (USL) affiliate Loudoun United FC, on Friday, May 29.
On Tuesday, May 26, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the state will move into phase one of easing pandemic-related shutdowns on Friday, May 29. Major League Soccer (MLS) had previously announced that players could begin to use outdoor team training fields for individual workouts beginning May 6.
D.C. United will implement detailed health and safety protocols based on consultations with local and national health professionals and adhere to the following guidelines previously announced by MLS for the workouts at Segra Field:

Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.

Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.

Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.

Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.

Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.

Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.

Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.

Segra Field will be divided into a maximum of four quadrants with only one player per quadrant allowed access at a time. There will be no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting, etc.) between players.

Individual training sessions will be limited to 60 minutes per player.

There will be no media access. D.C. United Communications will provide photos and video for media use following individual training sessions.
D.C. United are also continuing to work closely with the Mayor’s Office in Washington, D.C. on when the club may begin to use Audi Field along with RFK’s Training Fields for individual training opportunities.

DC United Club Statement

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Blog Match Report News

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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Blog

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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Blog News

DCU Home Jersey leak

So the DCU Home Jersey for this year has been leaked ahead of the Feb 5th release. Below are the shirts.

As you know, this is the 25th season of MLS, and after all the previews have been outed and these leaks, it’s obvious they are going for a 90’s style. And you know what? I dig it. It really does remind of older jerseys, the collar, the way the red trim is, the chunky stripes. The template for this year, if you look at what Adidas were aiming to do, they have hit the nail on the head with it. If you’re looking at it from an individual unique jersey point of view, well, that’s another matter entirely. It’s safe to say that there is no imagination between most of the jerseys and that is down to the fact that every kit is made by the same manufacturer. You will all remember the white jersey debacle of 2019. I do feel though the home kits are a winner and I’ll be looking forward to getting my own.

Let me know what you think by dropping a comment below or over on any of our social channels.

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News

D.C. United Re-sign Goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr

DC United have confirmed that Earl Edwards Jr. has been re-signed for the 2020 season. With Bill Hamid and Chris Seitz at the club already, he will provide good cover for when the inevitable phone call for Bill as he gets called up to the USMNT.

Spending the majority of 2019 with Loudoun United, making 16 appearances and 3 clean sheets, no doubt he will spend the majority of 2020 there and be called upon into the 1st team when required.

Player: Earl Edwards Jr.

Position: Goalkeeper

Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.

Country: United States

Birthdate: 01/24/1992

Age: 27

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 205

Previous Club: Orlando City SC

Status: Domestic

Transaction: United re-sign goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr., through 2020.

D.C. United have re-signed goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr., through the 2020 season. Edwards originally joined the Black-and-Red from Orlando City SC on Dec. 19, 2018.
“Earl impressed us in his first season with the club and we’re excited to re-sign him ahead of the 2020 season,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said. “He has the size, athleticism and shot-stopping ability to be a good goalkeeper in this league. At 27-years-old, he is still young as a professional goalkeeper and we look forward to him continuing to develop and improve in 2020.”

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News

Fred Brillant re-signs on two year agreement

News coming out of DC today that the club have re-signed DC United Kingdom Defender of the Year to a two year extension. This is great news from not only a club point of view, considering they now have the same backline that kept all those clean sheets, but also keep a fan favourite. This is what the club have said in a press release.

D.C. United have re-signed defender Frédéric Brillant to a two-year contract extension. 

“One of our focuses this off-season was bringing back the backline that performed so well in 2019,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said. “Frédéric was a main component of the defense that conceded the second fewest goals in the league last season and we’re excited to retain him for the 2020 season and beyond.”
Brillant has been a consistent pillar in the Black-and-Red defense since his acquisition from New York City FC on Dec. 10, 2017. In total, Brillant has scored two goals and recorded three assists in 61 MLS Regular Season appearances (57 starts) for United. His first goal for the club came in the 54th-minute of the match against the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 4, 2019. The defender also notched a goal and assist in two MLS Playoff appearances for the Black-and-Red.
In 2019, Brillant set career highs in appearances (34), minutes (2,961), goals (2) and assists (2) while being one of only 18 players in the league to appear in every MLS Regular Season match. The six-foot-three-inch defender led the entire league in blocks (34) and clearances (210) while being second only to fellow Black-and-Red defender Steven Birnbaum in headed clearances (96). Brilliant’s performances in 2019 earned him five MLS Team of the Week selections in the Regular Season.