After three days of training in Arlington, Virginia and another two in Lake Mary, Florida, one thing was consistent amongst the Black-and-Red – energy and excitement to finally get out onto the field in Orlando at the Pro Soccer Classic. United came into the game winless during its first pre-season trip to Florida, but tonight, the story was completely different against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Head Coach Ben Olsen started one of his strongest lineups thus far in pre-season, an indication that United wouldn’t hold up against NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies. United started with Hamid in goal, Korb, Jakovic, McDonald and Woolard along the back line, DeLeon, Kitchen, Nane and Porter across the midfield and playmaker De Rosario paired with Pajoy up top. De Rosario helped United control the midfield throughout the game and created numerous chances for himself, along with numerous other players.
United created the brunt of chances throughout the first half and held possession for most of the first 45. United doubled the Rowdies’ attempts on goal by a margin of 8-4 in the first half, but couldn’t break through despite numerous high-quality chances between De Rosario, Pajoy, Pontius, and Porter.
United came out for the second half with the same lineup it started with, with Olsen trying to push the minutes of his regular starters for the first time this pre-season. The move paid off as Pajoy opened his 2013 account just 10 minutes into the second half. De Rosario and Korb combined down the outside of the field before Korb whipped a ball to the back post that Pajoy headed emphatically into the back of the net for his first goal. Just three minutes later, Pajoy added another after skillfully chipping the ball over the helpless Tampa keeper.
The scoring didn’t stop there, as Taylor Kemp, a rookie out of the University of Maryland matched Pajoy by netting nearly two identical goals in the 65th and 73rd minutes. Both goals found Kemp open at the back post after receiving beautiful balls from Seaton and Richter.
D.C. United controlled most of the game after going up 4-0, earning about 60% of the possession while severely limiting any chances for the Rowdies. The Black-and-Red did continue to press despite the advantage, creating several more chances before full-time. United will be in action again on 2/13 against Eastern Conference rivals Sporting KC, who dropped a 2-1 contest earlier today versus the Montreal Impact.
D.C. United Starting XI
Hamid (Dykstra 60'); Korb (Russell 60'), Jakovic (*Kalungi 60'), McDonald (Neal 60'), Woolard (White 60'); DeLeon (Pontius 39'), Kitchen (Kemp 60'), *Nane (Rozeboom 60'), *Porter (Shanosky 60'); De Rosario (Seaton 60'), Pajoy
Tampa Bay Rowdies Starting XI
Fontein; Blackwood (Campbell 59'), Scott (Yamada 45'), Needham, Arango; Hill (Clinton 88'), Savage, Mulholland (Frimpong 45'), Cox; Del Do, Johnson (Tweneboa 67')
D.C. United: 55' - Pajoy (Korb, De Rosario)
D.C. United: 58' - Pajoy (Porter)
D.C. United: 65' - Kemp (Seaton, Richter)
D.C. United: 73' - Kemp (Richter)
D.C. United: 34' - Caution shown to Lionard Pajoy