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A View From the Couch  NYCFC v DC United  March 18, 2023

The Starting Lineup 

NYCFC: Luis Barraza, Tayvon Gray, Thiago Martins, Maxime Chanot, Brian Cufré, Keaton Parks, James Sands, Santiago Rodríguez, Gabriel Pereira (Alfredo Morales), Matías Pellegrini, Talles Magno (Thiago Andrade)

Unused Subs: Matthew Freese, Kevin O'Toole, Mitja Ilenič, Malte Amundsen, Tony Alfaro, Andres Jasson, Gabriel Segal, Justin Haak

Captain: Maxime Chanot

The Formation = 3-4-3

DC United: Tyler Miller; Ruan (Jacob Greene), Steve Birnbaum, Derrick Williams, Mo Jeahze (Matai Akinmboni); Chris Durkin, Russell Canouse (Victor Pálsson), Mateusz Klich, Ted Ku-DiPietro; Nigel Robertha (Pedro Santos) (Yamil Asad), Christian Benteke

Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Donovan Pines, Jackson Hopkins, Kristian Fletcher, Pedro Santos

Captain: Steve Birnbaum

The Formation = 4-4-2

Game Recap: 

First Half:

Small field makes things look a little quicker. DC turning the ball over in midfield resulting in a quick counter from NYC. This is the series of events that led to the opening from NYCFC. Coufre carries the ball on the endline down DC’s right hand side and squares it to Magno in the box. The goal was originally called offside but after a VAR review the referee pointed to the center spot indicating a goal. 

DC did not have a strong response following the goal and failed to create many chances. The black and red was not able to build beyond the back four like they have in the past, perhaps due to the smaller field in Yankee Stadium. So, DC opted for going direct to Benteke who, at times, could take the ball down and continue to possess in the final third. This led to a shot by Robertha who cut in from the right and curled a shot that was saved by Peralta and cleared by the NYC defense.

A turnover after a brief spell of offensive pressure led to NYC’s second goal in the 38th minute. The turnover came in the final third from TKP who lost the ball and led to a forward pass for Rodriguez who coolly slotted the ball past Miller.DC had a final bit of pressure on NYCs defense in the final minutes of the first half coming from a series of crosses and blocked shots around the 18. It ended with a header from Benteke into the box, but the resulting header on goal from Williams went over the bar and was called back as a foul which ended the half. 

Second Half:

DC made three subs at the half bringing on Jacob Greene (Ruan), Pedro Santos (Robertha), and Victor Palsson (Canouse). And they seem to have had an effect. In the 47th minute DC came out and scored their first of the match from a Klich cross to a Benteke glanced header into the far corner. A simple but effective move that put DC back into the game.

The second half continued to show more promise from the DC attack. Most notably in the 70th minute a cross from Durkin found TKP who volleyed a hard shot on target, but saved by Peralta. Just after, Akinmboni, who was subbed on for Jeahze on the left hand side received a header to the face which resulted in a stoppage in play for a few minutes so he could receive treatment. In the 76th minute, Pedro Santos went down with an apparent injury and was subsequently subbed off with Yamil Asad as his replacement.  

Unfortunate for DC, NYCFC would put another one in in the 88th minute, again from a turnover on the wing. Durkin was dispossessed by Rodriguez who took the ball in and passed to a diagonally running Andrade who tapped the ball passed Miller. But, two minutes later, Brinbaum struck home a powerful header off a Klich cross to put DC at 2 goals to 3. The game would end at that scoreline and with a disappointed DC who will travel back down I-95.

Notes From the Couch:

  • TKP is ready for MLS. He showed confidence on the dribble, taking defenders on and was DCs biggest threat all evening. Pairing with Benteke’s hold up play can be a dangerous combo. We just need the goals to start flowing. Not a bad replacement for Taxi for the time being. 

  • DC’s defense is the problem. We can consistently get 1-2 goals a game, but we give up just as many or more each game as well. In this game the issue was less with our CBs, but more with our fullbacks. Although they may be a threat moving forward, they may lack some defensive resolve. 

  • I feel confident with Miller in goal. He is making the saves ha should and making the occasional save he shouldn’t. If we get our defense settled, he will start to build the clean sheets, I believe.

  • Wayne Rooney continued to show his willingness to play young players when he brought Jacob Greene in for Ruan. Ruan was having trouble handling Gabriel Pereira and Talles Magno. While Greene wasn’t perfect, he did do a better job than Ruan and that he belonged on the field.

  • Matai Akinmboni got back on the playing field, but as a Left-Back instead of as Center-Back. The young man is not a Left-Back. Injuries to Jeahze and Santos, along with Greene already playing at Right-Back, meant that Akinmboni was deputized into the role. He just didn’t look comfortable moving forward, and rushed a number of volleys that didn’t allow DC to get control of the ball and initiate an attack.

Words from the Gaffer: 

Wayne Rooney: “I could have taken every player off [at halftime], to be honest. I was pleased with the reaction in the second half, but the first half cost us the game.

Player Ratings (FotMob):

Tyler Miller           6

Mo Jeahze             5.9

Steve Birnbaum.   7.7

Derrick Williams   7.1

Ruan                      5.5

Chris Durkin          6.8

Mateusz Klich        8.7

Russell Canouse     6.2

Ted Ku-DiPietro     6.6

Nigel Robertha       5.9

Christian Benteke   7.4


Jacob greene           6.8

Victor Pálsson        6.4

Yamil Assad.           5.7

Pedro Santos           6

Matai Akinmboni     6.1

Next Match: DC United returns to Audi Field to take on New England Revolution on March 25 at 7:30 pm ET.


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