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DC United vs Chicago Fire FC Game Review

The Starting Lineups 

D.C. United Lineup: Alex Bono, Éric Davis (Pedro Santos, 78'), Derrick Williams (Brendan Hines-Ike 24'), Steven Birnbaum, Andy Najar, Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 78'), Gabriel Pirani, Ted Ku-DiPietro (José Fajardo 73'), Mateusz Klich, Cristian Dájome (Ruan 78'), Christian Benteke

Unused Substitutes: Luis Zamudio, Erik Hurtado, Yamil Asad, Donovan Pines

Chicago Fire FC Lineup: Chris Brady, Arnaud Souquet, Daniel Aceves (Miguel Navarro 59'), Carlos Teran, Rafael Czichos, Maren Haile-Selassie (Xherdan Shaqiri 46'), Brian Gutierrez, Fabian Herbers (Jairo Torres 58'), Gaston Giminez, Federico Navarro (Ousmane Doumbia 27'), Kei Kamara (Georgios Koutsias 65')

Unused Substitutes: Spencer Richey, Kacper Przybylko, Wyatt Omsberg, Mauricio Pineda

Game Recap

First Half: 

What a difference a week makes at Audi Field. Last night saw a thrilling victory over the Chicago Fire.

DC United secured its resounding victory, by marking a significant change in the team’s formation. 

The star of the evening was Christian Benteke, who had struggled with a goal-scoring drought, having not scored since June 3rd, but against Chicago he came out in spectacular fashion by netting the crucial opening goal. Receiving a beautiful long pass from Mateusz Klich, the Belgian Striker showed his incredible skill at controlling the ball, went one-on-one with the defender, his cutbacks with the ball turning the defender about, and slotted a perfect shot past Chicago’s goalkeeper Chris Brady. Ten minutes into the match, DC United had a lead.

Benteke also displayed his versatility by providing an assist to a streaking Ted Ku-DiPietro, who celebrated his fifth goal of the season. Ted KDP showed what the team was missing while he was injured. His energy and drive were all on display as he consistently made positive runs.

Wayne Rooney made a tactical change to a 4-1-4-1 revamped formation for DC United's defense. Russell Canouse's presence between the defenders and midfielders as a true six added stability to the team's backline and made it difficult for Chicago to get any offense. 

Although they relied on long passes, the strategy paid off handsomely. United were able to get the ball to Benteke, who was just controlling the first half. His passing led to third goal. United went up 3-0 when Fire Center Back Carlos Teran inadvertently flicked the ball in his own goal a few minutes before halftime as he took down Ted KDP in a play that would have resulted in a penalty kick and red card to Teran if the ball hadn't gone in.

The half ends with the Black & Red winning 3-0.

Second Half: 

While DC United’s first half showcased their strengths, the second half highlighted a key area in need of improvement for the Black & Red – the ability for the team to move the ball out of the backfield efficiently. While their defensive performance was impressive, there were noticeable moments when the team’s ball distribution seemed sluggish and lacked ambition.

Getting the ball to key players like Mateusz Klich and Russell Canouse in the middle of the field appeared to be a challenge at times. This slower build-up from the backfield often hindered their ability to maintain sustained control of the ball and too often turnovers to Chicago.

One noticeable issue United will have to address is goalkeeping. While Alex Bono is excellent in stopping goals, his lack of proficiency in long passes was evident. This difference in their abilities presents a strategic dilemma for the team. The transition from defense to offense often requires swift ball movement, and Bono’s long-passing skills might be an issue going forward.

To continue their success and further develop their gameplay, DC United needs to work on speeding up their ball circulation from the back. A quicker and more ambitious approach to ball distribution is needed to better utilize their fullbacks and midfielders, facilitating smoother transitions into the offensive phase of play. 

Chicago Fire put up a concerted effort to get back into the match, but they had no answer to Christian Benteke's outstanding performance, which can be easily considered the best game of his DC United career. With a late exclamation goal, Benteke scored a brace, and meant the Black & Red scored its most goals in a game this season.

In addition Alex Bono made two incredible saves which allowed the defense to keep the clean sheet for the night. The Black & Red snapped their three-match losing skid, and are again in a playoff spot. The 4-0 scoreline may not reflect a perfect performance, but it's undoubtedly a significant step forward for DC United, giving their fans plenty to cheer about.

Notes From the Top Row:

  • DC United is in a back four this evening

  • Glad to see Andy Najar back in the starting lineup 

  • DC is on the front foot to start the match

  • When on defense the team is in a 4-1-4-1, when it goes forward it looks like 2-5-3

  • Ted Ku-DiPietro is starting, and he is bringing the energy 

  • What a pass from Klich!

  • BENTEKE!!!

  • GOAL!!!

  • That was an incredible goal 

  • Both teams are being physical but the Fire really like to flop

  • Own Goal!

  • Damn! Off-sides - seriously though, what was that defender thinking? He buried that shot.

  • Pirani and Ted Ku-DiPietro give DC energy in the attack 

  • Sweet flick pass from Benteke to a streaking Ted Ku-DiPietro!

  • Ted Ku-DiPietro!

  • GOAL!

  • Alex Bono with the incredible save

  • Derrick Williams tweaked something and has to come off

  • Hines-Ike comes in, surprised it’s not Pines

  • Another amazing flick pass from Benteke to a streaking Ted Ku-DiPietro

  • Foul in the box!

  • Balls in the net? How?

  • Karma - the defender who laid out Ted KDP ended up scoring the goal

  • Still think there should have been a card

  • Bono is not as good at passing as Miller

  • Bono doesn’t come out of his penalty box as much as Miller

  • Center Backs need to be more ambitious with their passing, Klich is available in the middle 

  • Another goal wiped out by an off-sides, damn!

  • Rooney needs to make some subs, DC showing tired legs

  • Triple substitution 

  • BENTEKE!!!

  • GOAL!!!

  • Benteke with the brace 

Stats of the Match:

Words from the Gaffer:

“Of course when you're a striker and you're not scoring, your confidence is down a little bit.”

“And towards the top he [Benteke] took his first goal excellent. A great bit of skill, great finish. And then that normally happens, you score one and you get another one. I think the big thing is you put yourself in the right positions, in better positions, and if he does that, he'll score goals."

“I think [Pirani]'s been excellent. I think he's a player who is a lot stronger than you think for his size. He's a very clever player, and I think it's exciting with him and Ku[Ted Ku-DiPietro]. I think Ted is one of the best younger American players.”

Player Ratings (FotMob):

Alex Bono                  7.5

Andy Najar                 8.2

Derrick Williams        6.3

Steve Birnbaum          6.8

Eric Davis.                  7.1

Russell Canouse         7.1  

Mateusz Klich            8.3

Cristian Dájome         6.8

Ted Ku-DiPietro        8.0

Gabriel Pirani            7.4

Christian Benteke      9.2


Brendan Hines-Ike     7.2

Chris Durkin              7.2

Pedro Santos              6.4

Jose Fajardo               5.8

Ruan                         6.2

Man of the Match Christian Benteke 

Next Match: DC United are home again next Saturday to host the San Jose Quakes.

Written by: RJ Rolsen 


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