top of page

DC United vs Toronto FC Game Review


Some draws feel like a loss, like against Chicago FC. Some feel like a win; that’s the feeling coming out of last night’s draw against the Toronto FC. 

The game couldn’t have started any worse. It wasn’t just that United gave up a goal in less than 90 seconds, but it was the ease with which Toronto FC scored. After his assist on the opening goal, Federico Bernardeschi would consistently find space behind, or dribble through the Black & Red’s defense. He was definitely the best player on the field for much of the game.

It was especially looking bad when Bernardeschi doubled Toronto’s lead, and United lost Benteke to an injury. Head Coach Lesesne would also sub off Steve Birnbaum for Matai Akinmboni, so for a moment the Black & Red were playing with Ted KDP, Jacob Murrell, Kristian Fletcher, Jackson Hopkins, Matai Akinmboni, and Garrison Tubbs. These youngsters showed well. Not only did they not surrender another goal, but KDP got a goal back. Even Gabriel Pirani looked energized and focused in the final minutes, and for a brief moment it looked like he had scored the winner after Mateusz Klich tied the game on a penalty shot. Unfortunately his goal was disallowed for an offside that occurred in the build up to Pirani’s shot.

The young players stepped up, and gave a performance that will really help their confidence. United will take this point, which might be a very important point at the end of the season, and a performance that might be a turning point for this season.

First Half

The Black & Red’s start was bad. 

Really Bad.

Really, Really BAD

Toronto FC raced into an early lead when the Red’s star DP Federico Bernardeschi knifed through the left side of DC’s defense. Derrick Etienne Jr. applied the finishing shot from the top of the box of a perfect final pass from Bernardeschi. United was down a goal just 88 seconds into the match.

It continued to be mostly Toronto for the early moments of the game. Toronto Center Forward Deandre Kerr put a header just over the goal in the 5th minute. 

When United did create opportunities, they were too easily turned away. Ted KDP tried to link up with Benteke but his pass was intercepted. Then KDP got behind the defense on a great pass from Jackson Hopkins. His chance to square came off too tame, and was saved by Toronto Goalkeeper Sean Johnson. 

In the 22nd minute, a long pass to Bernardeschi put him in on goal. In a repeat of the original goal, the Italian Winger centered the ball to Kerr in nearly the same place Etienne had scored. Fortunately for the Black & Red, Lucas Bartlett had raced back, and he was able to clear the ball off the line.

A well timed switch in the 27th by Bernardeschi found the first pick of the MLS SuperDraft pick Tyrese Spicer on the opposite flank. The winger’s shot was blocked by Right-Back Aaron Herrera.

The Reds would double their first-half advantage when Bernardeschi ran onto a through ball from Raoul Petretta, and drove a pin point perfect shot from the right wing past Alex Bono.

It was at this point that United really started to create chances. Steve Birnbaum would rocket a shot off the crossbar. Then Johnson would also deny Benteke when the Striker picked up a perfect through ball and tried to chip Johnson who was out of goal. The Toronto Goalkeeper was able to get his fingertips to deflect the ball away. 

Despite a flurry of chances by the Black & Red, they couldn’t find an equalizer before the first half closed.

The score at the first half whistle - DC United 0 - Toronto FC 2

Second Half

DC United started the second half much stronger, but things looked bleak when United were forced to substitute Christian Benteke  in the 61st minute when he picked up a knock. He was replaced by Jacob Murrell due to his injury. Luckily for United, it doesn’t seem to be serious, and the Black & Red have break before their next game.

The Black & Red pulled within one when Ted Ku-DiPietro tapped home the rebound after Sean Johnson made a diving save to deny Jared Stroud’s long-range effort in the 79th minute.

Toronto’s Head Coach Herdman brought in Richie Laryea for Derrick Etienne Jr. to help the Reds see out the game. This might have been successful if moments later Federico Bernardeschi hadn’t been shown his second yellow card of the night, reducing Toronto to 10 men for the end of the game. It was a stupid yellow card for kicking a ball across the field after a whistle, almost striking Matai Akinmboni in the face. This unforced error would cost Toronto FC.

Seven minutes were added at the end of regular time, and the Black & Red took it to Toronto. United kept up the pressure, working the ball around, and sending passes into the box. Under this pressure Toronto cracked the Red’s Center Back Nicksoen Gomis committed a foul in the box.

Not caught at first, DC was awarded a penalty kick after an on-field video review. Toronto’s Nicksoen Gomis was also shown a second yellow card for his foul, further reducing Toronto FC to nine men for the remainder of the match. Mateusz Klich would step up and easily convert from the penalty spot and tie the match at two apiece in the 95th minute.

The frenetic closing stages of this crazy affair saw both sides create real goalscoring chances to take all three points on the night. The Reds’ Sean Johnson was on-hand yet again to deny Mateusz Klich’s long-range effort in the 99th minute before a rapid TFC counter-attack almost led to a Deybi Flores goal moments later. DC United did manage to find the back of the net when substitute Gabriel Pirani finished off the penultimate attack of the evening in the 100th minute, but was denied by an offside flag which had occurred in the build-up.

If DC had had five more minutes, they probably score the winner. Unfortunately they ran out of time, and the game would end in a draw.

Full Time 

DC United 2  - Toronto FC 2


View from the stands:

  • Game is barely started and Toronto is ahead.

  • Bernardeschi is just owning his side of the field.

  • Thought KDP was going to tie it.

  • United doesn’t have an answer for Bernardeschi

  • Another shot by Toronto that DC was fortunate not to give up.

  • That was a really amazing shot by Bernardeschi

  • Benteke tried to chip the goalie. Really wish it had gone in.

  • Ted KDP with a great follow up for his second goal 

  • Bernardeschi just picked up a dumb second yellow card

  • Penalty!

  • Klich with the tying shot

  • What a save by Bono!


  • Ugh-Offside

  • Must have been in the build up. Johnson is kicking from new the half line.

Views from the Coach:

“The way we fought back… is what… is the expectation now. This is the type of behavior we want to see, but we want to see it from the beginning.”

“We’ve put ourselves in a really difficult situation, and that’s been a little too consistent.”

“On the flip side of that, the way that we fight and the way that we go at the match, that is something that the group can feel good about going into this break.”

Man of the Match: Jared Stroud 

DC United would not have pulled out the draw, if not for the play of Jared Stroud. He made several plays in the open field, and created the most chances in the game with four. His shot created the rebound that Ted KDP buried to get United back into the game.


Homegrown Stars - Present and Past

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page