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Toronto FC vs DC United Game Review

The Starting Lineups 

Toronto FC

Starters:  Sean Johnson, Matt Hedges, Aime Mabika, Kobe Franklin, Richie Laryea, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Brandon Servania (Kosi Thompson 19'), Deandre Kerr (Ayo Akinola 73'), Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, CJ Sapong (Hugo Mbongue 90'+1'), Lorenzo Insigne

Unused Substitutes: Tomas Romero, Cristian Gutierrez, Raoul Petretta, Jordan Perruzza, Themi Antonoglou

Captain:  Alejandro Bedoya

Formation (4-3-3)

DC United

Starters: Tyler Miller, Derrick Williams, Donovan Pines, Victor Pálsson, Chris Durkin (Andy Najar 45'+2), Russell Canouse (Cristian Dájome 67'), Lewis O'Brien, Mateusz Klich, Gaoussou Samaké (Pedro Santos 45'+1'), Ted Ku-DiPietro (Taxi Fountas 45'+2'), Christian Benteke

Unused Subs: Alex Bono, Erik Hurtado, Yamil Asad, Brendan Hines-Ike, Steven Birnbaum

Formation (3-4-2-1)

Game Recap: 

First Half:  DC United and their fans can be excused if they felt pretty confident coming into Saturday night’s match against Toronto FC Toronto had not scored in four straight games, their best player of the season had just disparaged the Head Coach and had been benched for the game. Everything pointed to DC who had been playing really good soccer to go in and pick up another three points. Yet it was DC United that looked like a team in disarray and ill-prepared as Toronto FC came out on the front foot and took it to DC United on.

The Reds created a number of good chances, especially headers on set plays that set the tone for the night. DC weathered the first few chances more through luck than any great defensive play. Most likely they were hoping that Toronto’s attack would lose momentum as they failed to score, and then DC would strike. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be as Toronto scored first from a set piece. TFC’s star forward, Lorenzo Insigne whipped in a dangerous ball in front of the goal from a corner kick in the 14th minute and Deandre Kerr rose up to head it past Tyler Miller for the early 1-0 lead.

Down a goal, the Black and Red seemed to wake up and began to create scoring opportunities. Unfortunately Sean Johnson had a man-of-the-match type performance as he produced two big saves towards the end of the first half. In the 40th minute, he denied Christian Benteke from point-blank range, extending his arm to deflect the ball somewhat away to safety. Then during first-half stoppage time, Johnson convincingly saved a free kick from Mateusz Klich. 

Not liking what he was seeing, Rooney made a triple substitution just prior to halftime. He took Gaoussou Samaké, Theodore Ku-DiPietro, and Chris Durkin off, and replaced them with Pedro Santos, Andy Najar, and Taxiarchis Fountas. It was later reported that this was only the third time in MLS history that a coach made three substitutions before halftime.

The half would end with DC down 1-0.

Second Half: 

The three subs helped DC play better as the second half started, but their rust was evident, and all the United players just couldn’t match the energy the TFC players were playing with.

Russell Canouse picked up a knock when he had a pretty violent collision with C.J. Sapong. The Center Midfielder literally flew through the air and landed on his head. It was scary as Canouse didn’t move for a few minutes. He did get up and was able to walk under his own power off the field.

A second goal was scored by TFC in the 72nd minute with Insigne once again playing provider. The Italian international cut back a pass to find Kosi Thompson who made no mistake with the finish.

The Black & Red went into desperation mode and threw everything at Toronto’s defense, but the Red held firm. United was only able to claw one back in the 87th minute when Christian Benteke scored his seventh of the season, when he kicked it before Sean Johnson was able to secure the ball during a scrum in front of the goal.

This should have been a win for DC, but unfortunately it was Lorenzo Insigne’s best game with Toronto FC, and it was TFC who earned the three big points beating the Black & Red on Saturday night.

Notes From the Couch:

  • DC has come out flat

  • Toronto FC have a point to prove

  • Tyler Miller is being tested early and often

  • Toronto FC is moving the ball quickly and really are taking it to DC

  • This ref is really allowing some physical play out on the pitch

  • Ugh! Early goal to the Union 

  • TFC are playing like their lives depended on the result

  • Dang, Johnson was able to deflect a point blank shot from Benteke 

  • Andy Najar, Taxi Fountas and Pedro Santos all subbed in just before the half

  • Second half starts much the way the first half did, not good for DC

  • Benteke and Taxi are playing off each other 

  • Russell Canouse is down after a truly nasty collision with C.J. Sapong

  • Thankfully, Canouse is walking off the field under his own power 

  • Cristian Dájome enters the game in Canouse’s place

  • Damn, Toronto scored again 

  • DC is showing the grit they have in past games, but haven’t really threatened Sean Johnson 

  • Possible handball in the penalty box, but VAR review shows good no call

  • Christian Benteke! Seventh goal of the season 

  • Toronto doing a great job killing off the last few minutes 

  • Tonight was a setback for DC

Words from the Gaffer: 

Wayne Rooney: “I didn’t like the first half at all. I didn’t feel we showed the fight or the composure, or the intensity which I want. I was very disappointed in the first forty-five minutes.”

“I wish I’d had eleven [substitutes]. I had to keep the two in case of injuries, but the first half was nowhere near the standard that we set for ourselves.”

Player Ratings (FotMob):

Tyler Miller             5.8

Gaoussou Samaké   5.6

Derrick Williams     6.8

Donovan Pines        6.4

Victor Pálsson         6.5

Chris Durkin           6.4

Russell Canouse     6.7

Lewis O’Brien.       7.5

Mateusz Klich        7.3

Ted Ku-Dipietro     6.3

Christian Benteke   7.4


Taxi Fountas           6.2

Andy Najar             7.1

Pedro Santos           7.0

Christian Dajome    5.9


Next Match: DC United are back at Audi Field hosting the CF Montreal on Wednesday May 31st, at 7:30 pm ET.

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