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A View From the Upper Deck A DC United vs LA Galaxy Game Recap

Updated: May 21, 2023

DC United

Starters: Tyler Miller, Gaoussou Samake (Jacob Greene 82′), Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, Victor Pálsson, Chris Durkin, Lewis O’Brien, Russell Canouse (Brendan Hines-Ike 89′), Mateusz Klich (Yamil Asad 89′), Ted Ku-DiPietro (Cristian Dájome 68′), Christian Benteke (Kristian Fletcher 89′)

Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Matai Akinmboni, Erik Hurtado, Luis Zamudio

Captain: Russell Canouse

Formation (3-5-2)

LA Galaxy  

Starters: Jonathan Bond, Calegari, Martín Cáceres, Jalen Neal (Eriq Zavaleta 84′), Julián Aude (Uri Rosell 84′), Riqui Puig, Gastón Brugman (Daniel Aguirre 84′), Mark Delgado, Tyler Boyd (Raheem Edwards 63′), Memo Rodríguez (Dejan Joveljic 75′), Chicharito

Subs: Jonathan Klinsmann, Kelvin Leerdam, Efraín Álvarez, Gino Vivi

Captain: Mark Delgado

Formation (4-3-3)

Game Recap: 

First Half: United and the Galaxy could not produce a goal in the first 45 minutes as the two original dynasties of the league played in a torrential downpour. Without a full roster, Rooney has asked his bench players to step up, and in some cases play out of position. Those players have responded and again showed the grit and determination that are the hallmarks of their Head Coach.

In truth though, the Galaxy played really well in the first half. The Galaxy matched the Black & Red in total shots and had more efforts on target, but none were ever that dangerous. On the other hand DC looked like they would at some point score, as their chances seemed better opportunities. Both teams and fans didn’t seem troubled by the downpour of rain.

Mateusz Klich especially seemed poised to score on a number of occasions. In his first attempt he forced LA Goalie Jonathan Bond into a diving effort early in the game when he curled a shot from just outside the box toward goal, unfortunately it sailed just wide of the goal. His second attempt was again a shot from just outside the penalty box toward the top corner of the goal. This time LA’s Bond did have to save the shot to deny United its first goal.

Tyler Miller again made a play showing a willingness to challenge attackers in an unconventional way. At one point he challenged Puig at the top of the penalty box. Instead of trying to dribble past the vulnerable goalkeeper, Puig tried to backheel the pass to Chicharit, but Miller easily swallowed the pass.

DC continued to press effectively, and maintain a very disciplined defensive shape that didn’t allow the Union to get any rhythm. The halftime whistle blew with both teams knotted at zero.

Second Half: The second half started much the way the first ended, with both teams trading scoring opportunities, but both defenses were able to contain the threats.

It wasn’t until the last thirty minutes that the Black & Red took control of the game.  Christian Benteke had thought he'd put United in front on an apparent goal that was ruled offside.

It was disappointing, but there was a growing sense that a breakthrough was coming. United’s players were winning more 50/50 balls, and they were able to win the ball further up the field. It was this pressure that led to DC scoring four minutes after the offside ruling. 

Lewis O’Brien put the Galaxy goalkeeper under pressure in the penalty area, and Bond misplayed the ball with his feet and left it for Benteke, who easily shot it into an open goal. This was Benteke’s team-leading sixth goal of the season. He would add his first assist of the season two minutes later.

Cristian Dajome scored his first goal after Benteke brought down a long pass from Tyler Miller, and tapped him a beautiful pass that put him on goal. Benteke’s pass slipped behind the Galaxy defense to Dajome who opened himself perfectly for the pass, which allowed him to fire his shot into the lower right corner of the goal past the outstretched Bond.

Mateusz Klich would add a third goal on the night with his second of the season. Klich’s goal in the 80th minute happened because he took advantage of another mistake from Bond, who spilled a cross in front of the Polish Midfielder and allowed him to finish from close range. The leader of DC’s midfield then performed an imitation of Wayne Rooney's iconic boxing celebration that the Englishman performed in his Premier League days.

Tyler Miller made six saves on the night to preserve his second consecutive shutout and fifth clean sheet overall this season. In the past three games, DC has one win and two draws, with the only goal conceded being the fluky armpit goal.

Saturday’s game marked the 51st meeting across all competitions between LA and DC, and was a great addition for this original rivalry.

Notes From the top row:

  • DC is using the same lineup as Wednesday 

  • Tight match in midfield, both teams ready to put a foot in, pressing the other 

  • The rain is really coming down but it’s not dampening the fans

  • A very even game, neither team is dominating the match 

  • Despite the rain, DC is moving the ball quickly and are miles better than they were last year

  • Around the 30 minute mark LA Galaxy are playing much better and beginning to put United under pressure 

  • Puig tries to pull off a fancy backheal, but Miller smothers it at the top of the box

  • Chris Durkin is playing better and better as a right back 

  • Second half starts much the way the first half did

  • LA Galaxy keep the pressure with a full field press looking for a defensive error but DC handle well 

  • Benteke is so strong at holding the ball 

  • DC United’s attack is coming alive, the Galaxy are forced to play long

  • Rats! Benteke scored but Ted-KDP was correctly ruled offside 


  • Benteke scored but that was all because O’Brien discombobulated LA’s Goalie 

  • You have to love the enthusiasm of this team

  • Miller defending  the goal so well 

  • Miller with the MLS Assist!

  • Benteke’s ability to control long passes is truly his best trait 

  • Cristian Dájome gets his first goal for DC


  • Great run by the center midfielder 

  • Nice homage to Rooney with that celebration 

  • DC are a team to contend with this season 

Words from the Gaffer: 

Wayne Rooney: “We’ve been watching obviously the last week or so now. I just felt if we were organized and, as I said, stayed in the game, we’d have a really good chance of winning it because they are quite open defensively in terms of their organization and the shape. They tend to have some players working and some players not working. You can really take advantage of that. It was important for us tonight to just stay organized and with them openings to come to take advantage of them.

That’s a huge difference from last season. We know we can win games toward the end. And the important thing, which I stressed to the players, is if you’re not winning the game, stay in the game. And you’re always going to get a chance to go on and try to win the game.

We’ve got Steve, Taxi, Andy, and Pedro potentially all back fit. But what the lads have been playing, what they’ve done is to make it very difficult for me to take anyone off the team, so that’s great. Great competition for places. But no, I was delighted. It might be the first time in my career I’ve managed to play the same team back to back.

Player Ratings (FotMob):

Tyler Miller             8.6

Gaoussou Samaké   7.2

Derrick Williams     7.1

Donovan Pines        7.5

Victor Pálsson         6.9

Chris Durkin           6.9

Russell Canouse     6.8

Lewis O’Brien.       7.3

Mateusz Klich        8.4

Ted Ku-Dipietro     7.1

Christian Benteke   8.7


Christian Dajome   7.2

Jacob Greene          N/A

Yamil Asad             N/A

Brendan Hines-Ike  N/A

Kristian Fletcher.    N/A

Man of the Match - Christian Benteke

Was tempted to give this to Lewis O’Brien, who was just so deft with the ball at his feet and how he caused the first goal, or Klich for the energy and excitement he brought to the pitch and the near chances in the first half before scoring in the second half. However, again I felt Christian Benteke earned this with his goal and assist. He is a true Designated Player and is a difference maker for all he brings to the Black and Red’s attack. He forced the Galaxy to play on a back foot for throughout the game.

Next Match: DC United heads out on a road trip and will first face Toronto FC at BMO Stadium on May 27 at 7:30 pm ET. By By

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