Starters: Jonathan Sirois, Rudy Camacho, Zachary Brault-Guillard (Sunusi Ibrahim 69′), Joel Waterman, Aaron Herrera, Victor Wanyama, Ilias Iliadis (Ariel Lassiter 46′), Ahmed Hamdi (Rida Zouhir 69′), Bryce Duke, Mathieu Choiniere (Sean Rea 88′), Chinonso Offor
Unused Subs: Logan Ketterer, Rida Zouhir, Gabriele Corbo, Róbert Thorkelsson, Nathan-Dylan Saliba
Captain: Victor Wanyama
The Formation = 3-4-2-1
Starters: Tyler Miller, Ruan (Andy Najar 87′), Mohanad Jeahze (Pedro Santos 13′), Steven Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 79′), Lewis O’Brien, Mateusz Klich (Ted Ku-DiPietro 79′), Victor Pálsson, Taxiarchis Fountas, Christian Benteke
Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Yamil Asad, Jackson Hopkins, Kristian Fletcher
Captain: Steve Birnbaum
The Formation = 3-5-2
With both teams badly needing a win, the start of the match was rough and disjointed. Neither team seemed capable of stringing three or more passes together. The reason for this was obvious as both DC United and CF Montréal lined up in relatively defensive formations and gave very little space to their opponents in their half of the pitch.
It did not help that an injury to Mohanad Jeahze forced the Left Back to be substituted early in the match, coming out at the ten minute mark. Pedro Santos came in and played well, but there was a noticeable tendency to advance the ball on the right side of the field.
The game saw the debut of newly acquired Bryce Duke who along with Victor Wanyama were Montréal’s best players. Over time the duo were able to exert some measure of control of the midfield, which allowed Montréal to exert a viable offensive threat. Still it remained a disjointed defensive affair and it wasn’t until the 38th minute that the first shot on target occurred. In this case it was a shot from distance taken by Bryce Duke that Tyler Miller was able to make his first save of the match.
This did seem to have the effect of opening up the game some, and though DC United’s offensive struggles continued, the team was able to create chances. Yet the pattern of the last few games continued where opportunities were created, but the final shot or pass were just not there.
It seemed that DC would finally break the deadlock in stoppage time when Ruan found Klich at the top of Montréal’s box with a perfect pass. Klich had space and time, but rushed the shot and launched it over the crossbar rather than into the back of Montréal’s net, leaving the first half scoreless.
The second half opened with a bang when Lewis O’Brien scored the lone goal of the game.
Just seconds into the second half Tyler Miller took the opening kickoff and launched a long pass to Christian Benteke at the top of Montréal’s penalty box. The Belgian striker was able to control the ball and hold off the defenders enough to poke a pass to Taxi Fuentas, who quickly passed to Mateusz Klich who one-timed a shot on-goal. For a split second it looked like he might have beaten Montréal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois; unfortunately like so often in recent matches, the ball struck the goal post. Unlike past opportunities though, this time the ball spilled to a point where a DC United player could pounce on it. In this case it was Lewis O’Brien and the he young Englishman left footed his shot from just off center of the box to the back of the goal.
Again the game opened up a bit more and Montréal forward Mathieu Choiniere had a shot at goal but was denied by Miller. Then it was DC United’s turn to go on the attack with Sirois forced to make a key save off a dangerous DC set piece.
As the match played out, DC seemed to tire, so with the time winding down, the Black and Red dropped into a more defensive low block, and brought on a couple of subs, which helped to stifle Montréal’s attacks. United’s defense was strong and allowed very few opportunities to Montréal. In fact the last Montréal shot of the game came in the 75th minute.
As the game played out, Tyler Miller made two late saves and earned his second clean sheet and ensured all three points for the Black and Red.
Notes From the Couch:
Wayne Rooney showed he’s willing to make changes and is not we’d to a particular formation or style
Rooney used his 8th different defensive back line in 8 different games
Rooney out Losada-Balled Losada. DC definitely were not interested in keeping the ball and dealing with Montréal’s press
Victor Pálsson as a Right Center Back in a three back system worked well
Rooney really likes Russell Canouse’s hustle
Ruan really does allow DC to stretch the field
Matheus Klich was much more active and willing to take shots on goal
Christian Benteke needs to shoot quicker on goal
It’s just a matter of time before Taxi Fuentas scores…
When he does, the floodgates will open, as right now he’s pressing too hard
DC United seemed to run on fumes near the end of the match
Lewis O’Brien was the best player on the pitch
DC is going to miss Lewis O’Brien when his loan ends
Words from the Gaffer:
Wayne Rooney: “We adjusted the shape and matched Montreal up, which I feel caused them a lot of problems.”
“Playing against a team with wing backs is tricky so we wanted to match that and keep the game in the middle of the park. (Montreal) gambled and really went for it, but I find we adapted very well.”
“I feel with Benteke, with the kickoff, if we can go long and get it into the opposition’s penalty area and then get bodies around it for certain balls, you can get a shot at goal. Yeah, it’s always nice when something you work on pays off.”
Player Ratings (FotMob):
Tyler Miller 7.7
Mo Jeahze 6.5
Steve Birnbaum. 7.9
Donovan Pines 7.5
Victor Pálsson 7.5
Russell Canouse 7.4
Lewis O’Brien. 8.4
Mateusz Klich 8.7
Taxi Fuentas. 7.4
Christian Benteke 6.6
Pedro Santos 7.2
Chris Durkin 6.1
Ted Ku-DiPietro 6.3
Andy Najar N/A
Next Match: DC United travels to play Orlando City on Saturday, April 22nd, at 7:30 pm ET.