The Starting Lineups
Starters: Tyler Miller, Pedro Santos, Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, Brendan Hines-Ike (Kristian Fletcher 86'), Andy Najar (Ruan 64'), Chris Durkin, Lewis O'Brien, Mateusz Klich, Cristian Dájome (Taxi Fountas 71'), Christian Benteke
Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Russell Canouse, Erik Hurtado, Yamil Asad, Jacob Greene, Gaoussou Samaké
Captain: Christian Benteke
Starters: Roman Celentano, Alvas Powell (Raymon Gaddis 57'), Nick Hagglund, Santiago Arias (Bret Halsey 71'), Alvarao Barreal (Joey Akpunonu 82'), Ian Murphy, Obinna Nwobodo, Marco Angulo, Luciano Acosta, Dominique Badji (Sergio Santos 71'), Quimi Ordonez (Malik Pinto 57')
Unused Subs: Alec Kann, London Aghedo, Stiven Jimenez, Gerardo Valenzuela
Captain: Lucho Acosta
First Half: There is a really cool feeling when you have written a ‘keys to the match’ and then watch those points play out on the pitch before you.
Things had not gone well for the Black & Red the last few weeks with DC falling behind early in the last two games. It was important for the Black & Red to start on the front foot right from the kickoff, as FC Cincinnati have come out strong and attacking throughout the season. In their first meeting the Orange and Blue were all over United and would have 75% of possession at one point early in that game. DC wasn’t having any of that in this match, as they went at Cincinnati, especially with long passes to Benteke who is the master at the flick on header.
FC Cincinnati had only surrendered a goal first once before this season, so it was important for DC to get the early goal. They did just that when Pedro Santos scored his first goal for the Black & Red in the 10th minute of the game. He was assisted by Mateusz Klich who crossed the ball just over the head of Christian Benteke but was picked up by Santos who was covering on the opposite side. Santos looked calm and cool as he controlled the ball cut inside and passed it past Cincinnati goalkeeper Celentano.
Down one, FC Cincinnati tried to counter, but United were calm and able to handle the Orange & Blue. There was one dangerous moment but Donovan Pines was able to clear the attempt and help Tyler Miller keep a clean sheet.
DC has been quite dangerous on set pieces this season and it was no different in this match. A deep free kick was sent into the box where a towering Pines sent a header across the box for Cristian Dájome, who fired a point blank shot. Roman Celetano made an amazing save, making himself big as he went to the ground. Unfortunately for him, Derrick Williams picked up the rebound at the top of the penalty box and placed it in the back of the net while the goalie tried to regain his feet. This was Derrick Williams first career MLS goal and you have to love his heal click celebration.
Lucho Acosta tried to put the Blue & Orange onto his shoulders, and he looked more dangerous, even taking a shot from outside the box but he wasn’t able to break through DC’s defense, even with a couple set piece opportunities that presented themselves.
Forward Cristian Dájome made his second consecutive start and scored his second DC United goal in the 43rd minute. Dájome shot from a tight angle that nutmegged Celentano and dribbled into the goal. Dájome’s opportunity was created by strong hold-up play from Benteke who put the ball perfectly into the forward’s driving path.
The half would end with DC United in complete control of the match with three goals to none.
DC United had a really great tribute to Kevin Payne. Really well done.
DC United came out a little rough in the second half. Their passing wasn’t what it had been, and there were some cheap turnovers, but their defense never let them down. The Black & Red were hyper-vigilant on defense throughout the game, and FC Cincinnati were not able to take advantage of the space behind the defensive line. Pines and Hines-Ike were able to race down numerous opponents who were given long passes.
Tyler Miller also continued to play Sweeper Keeper, and he snuffed out a number of chances. He had a really strong game where he had four saves to get his sixth clean sheet of the season. A free kick shot by Acosta that Miller made a huge save on and Marco Angulo’s strike that struck the outside of the post in the 69th minute were the only real chances that the Blue & Orange were able to manufacture.
Any chance of the Blue & Orange coming back was pretty much snuffed out when Ian Murphy was sent off for his second yellow card when he fouled a driving Taxi Fountas in the 79th minute.
Midfielder Mateusz Klich was the boss in the middle of the field. He registered his seventh assist of the season; and led United with five chances created and 23 passes in the final third.
In the end DC United were surprisingly comfortable in their three-goal victory over the MLS Supporters' Shield leaders.
Notes From the Top Row:
DC is on the front foot to start the match
Cincinnati is looking discombobulated
Benteke just missed a header off a corner
DC are decisive and are moving the ball really well
Santos with the score
This team is just better with Andy Najar and Pedro Santos on the wings
The Black & Red are really dangerous on on a set piece situations
DC is dominating the match
How did DC not get that free kick? O’Brien was shoved in the back
Benteke is so strong at holding the ball
With the NUTMEG!
Brendan Hines-Ike is so much better in a back three
3 Goals in the first half
Really nice tribute video to Kevin Payne
Second half start feels a bit off
DC isn’t as sharp
Lucho Acosta is getting frustrated
Lewis O’Brien does not get calls
Ruan NEEDS to just shoot sometimes
Taxi Fountas brought on for a very strong Cristian Dájome
Ian Murphy sent off after his second yellow card
Cincinnati was shut out for only the 2nd time this season
Audi Field was a fortress tonight. Great crowd
DC did something great tonight
Stats from the Match:
Words from the Gaffer:
Wayne Rooney: “I think obviously to beat Cincinnati is a good win for us, especially after the last two games, so confidence should be high after this game. Especially with the two games we have coming up.”
Man of the Match: Derrick Williams
Derrick Williams scored his first career MLS goal in the 17th minute; he led the team with six clearances and completed 90 minutes.
Player Ratings (FotMob):
Tyler Miller 8.2
Brendan Hines-Ike 6.8
Derrick Williams 8.0
Donovan Pines 7.7
Andy Nájar 7.4
Chris Durkin 6.4
Lewis O’Brien 7.8
Mateusz Klich 8.7
Christian Dajome 7.9
Christian Benteke 7.8
Taxi Fuentas. 6.0
Kristian Fletcher NA
Next Match: DC United go on the road to Nashville on Saturday July 1st.
Written by: RJ Rolsen