D.C. United faced Swedish team Malmo FF at IMG Academyin Bradenton this morning, in a match that saw the sides play to a 1-1draw. After ten days of training in Florida, the scrimmage marked the end ofthe first stage of preseason for United, who will remain in D.C. for three daysbefore departing to Arizona on Monday.
The match began with a balanced battle for possession, asneither team could create clear chances during the first ten minutes. But thecourse of the game would change quickly, as United’s first warning came in the12th minute with a shot from outside the box that was stopped by goalkeeper BillHamid. Two minutes later, the Black-and-Red conceded a foul at the top of thebox, giving Malmo a clear chance to take the lead. Former Sounder Erik Fribergdid not waste the opportunity and buried the free kick into the upper rightcorner of Hamid’s goal.
Malmo’s tally seemed to wake up United, who took possessionof the ball and began to attack more aggressively. The first real attempt come from Blake Brettschneider, who connected on a cross from De Rosario, buthis header was deflected by Malmo’s keeper. Moments later, last year's MLS MVP ran through four defenders until the ballwas kicked out of bounds for a corner kick. Danny Cruz created the last chance of the half from the left flank, nutmegging a defender and taking a shot from outside thebox, but the strike was controlled by Malmo’s netminder.
The rest of the first half saw a physical battle all aroundthe field, with United defenders put to the test by the European’s physicalpresence.
With an entirely new lineup, the Black-and-Red took the fieldin the second half. The energy of United’s fresh players was felt almost instantly, and trialist Ryan Richter tied the match in the 54th minute. The formerUnion player headed the ball inside the box after a precise left-footed crossby Korb.
United’s second team seemed determined to take the lead,moving the ball around patiently and looking for spaces. Supplemental Draftpick Lance Rozeboom was United’s most active participant in the middle, whileNick DeLeon became a constant threat for defenders on the left side of thefield. However, neither team was able to break the tie, as the score remained1-1 at the final whistle.
United captain Dwayne De Rosario commented on the team’sperformance after playing his first 45 minutes of the year.
“Overall, I think we did okay,” said the 2011 MLS MVP. “Itfelt good to be back out there with the guys. Obviously, letting a goal in thefirst half was disappointing. We need to keep working on getting back, gellingwith each other. And that’s what these games are for; to get back accustomedplaying with each other.”
“The new faces did well in the second half,” continued DeRosario. “They were able to get us back on the game and score. I’m proud ofthat, we have some potential depth in this team and I think the match cappedoff a good first preseason trip.”
MFF - Erik Friberg (unassisted) 14'
DC - Ryan Richter 54'
First Half: Bill Hamid; Robbie Russell, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard; Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Danny Cruz, Branko Boskovic; Dwayne De Rosario, Blake Brettschneider (Stefan Jerome [trialist] 29')
Second Half: Joe Willis; Chris Korb, Sebastian Svard [trialist], Conor Shanosky, Jed Zayner [trialist]; Seth C'deBaca [trialist], Lance Rozeboom [trialist], Stephen King, Nick DeLeon (Charles Rodriguez [trialist] 82'); Ryan Richter [trialist], Stefan Jerome [trialist]
First Half: Johan Dahlin; Ulrich Vinzents, Markus Halsti, Pontus Jansson, Ricardinho; Jiloan Hamad, Erik Friberg, Simon Thern, Jimmy Durmaz; Mathias Ranégie, Dardan Rexhepi
Second Half: Robin Olsen; Filip Stenström, Markus Halsti, Filip Helander, Miiko Albornoz; Simon Kroon, Amin Nazari, Wilton Figueiredo, Tobias Lewicki; Alex Nilsson, Jasmin Sudic Daniel Andersson