September 15, 2019

D.C. United: Club loses Neal, McNamara in MLS Expansion Draft

All things considered, the MLS Expansion Draft on Wednesday could have gone far worse for D.C. United. With players like Eddie Johnson and Davy Arnaud left unprotected, the club was at risk of losing a starter or two, or at least a player who logged significant minutes in the highly successful 2014 season.

Instead, United suffered a loss in the midfield as Lewis Neal was taken by Orlando City SC in the fifth round of the draft, which also included selections by New York City FC. The latter club took midfielder Thomas McNamara from United in the eighth round, a player D.C. had only recently acquired from Chivas USA. McNamara never appeared as a United player. Each new club, which will begin play in 2015 as members of the Eastern Conference, selected 10 players. No MLS club could lose more than two players in the draft, and by rule, United pulled Arnaud off the list of available players once Neal was selected. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 17 Recap: United hit halfway point in first place after win at Toronto

Road wins are rarely pretty, but they are so very important. D.C. United got three vital away points Saturday night, winning at Eastern Conference rival Toronto FC, 2-1, before 22,591 at BMO Field. Nick DeLeon and Perry Kitchen scored the goals for United, while Luke Moore got on the scoresheet for Toronto. With the win, United improved to 8-5-4 (28 points), leaving D.C. alone in first place in the East halfway through its season (pending Sporting Kansas City’s result Sunday vs. Chicago).

Road wins were non-existent in the league for United last season, one when winning anywhere was a true rarity. There was a school of thought that such troubled times would befall the black-and-red again now, with leading scorer (and assist man) Fabian Espindola out with a knee injury for several weeks. Where would the offense come from? [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: First-quarter evaluation, part 3 – Midfielders

Of all the pieces of this week-long series evaluating D.C. United through about the first quarter of the 2014 Major League Soccer season, considering the value and effectiveness of the midfield might be the most difficult. Unlike defense and forward, the midfield wasn’t completely plowed over in the offseason, as the intention was to have relative veterans Nick DeLeon, Chris Pontius, and Perry Kitchen anchoring the middle of the field, supplemented by new acquisition and MLS veteran Davy Arnaud.

Nine matches into the season, that plan has already undergone a significant adjustment due to Pontius being unavailable due to injury. With the Washington Post reporting in late April that recovery from a hamstring injury will likely keep Pontius out for most of the regular season, midfield is one area where United’s best plan has already been rubbished. [Read more…]

D.C. United Open Cup Recap: United’s Cup Dream Comes True

Lewis Neal’s goal just before halftime was enough to lift D.C. United to a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Tuesday night, giving United its third Open Cup championship and 13th major trophy.

John Thorrington started the attack, working the ball out wide before sending in a cross that was deflected. In the penalty area, Neal was the right man in the right place, firing a shot that beat RSL (and former United) goalkeeper Nick Rimando for the only goal United would need. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 29 Recap: United loses 20th match of season; fall 2-1 at Revs

Bad defense, a bad call or two, and one bad moment from a substitute all conspired to send D.C. United crashing to its 20th league loss of the season tonight, 2-1 at the New England Revolution. Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, and Scott Caldwell all scored for the Revs, the latter being an 11th-minute own goal that put United in front, 1-0.

United couldn’t hold on, however, and tonight’s defeat dropped United to 3-20-6 (15 points) on the season. New England, fighting for one of the five playoff spots in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, improved to 11-11-7 (40 points). As of this writing, the win lifted the Revs into fifth in the East, one point ahead of the Chicago Fire, who were beaten tonight by the Columbus Crew, 3-0. [Read more…]

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