MLS action returns to Audi Field as D.C. United host CF Montréal on Saturday.
Kickoff between the Black-and-Red and L’Impact is set for 8:00 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBC Sports Washington, TeleXitos (ES), ESPN+ and dcunited.com.
The stakes are growing exponentially in D.C.’s camp with Wayne Rooney's tenure as head coach impending amidst a mounting battle to stay in playoff contention.
For the team, there are three crucial points on the line on Saturday. For each individual, there’s an opportunity to make an impression on the new gaffer, who is still waiting for his work visa before he can take the touchline.
After a resilient 2-2 comeback against Columbus and a tough midweek test against Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich, the Black-and-Red hope to turn resilience into results when they take on CF Montréal.
Last Time Out
Wednesday’s friendly against FC Bayern Munich saw the Black-and-Red go toe-to-toe with some of the world’s best. It also served as a good an opportunity for fans—and most importantly new head coach, Wayne Rooney—to see some fresh faces in action.
While he’s yet to fully take the reins in D.C., Wayne Rooney’s impact on the players, coaching staff and the summer transfer window has already taken shape. In his pre-match press conference, Chad Ashton said there’s an understanding among the players that they’re operating with a “blank slate.”
“[They] know that every minute that they go out there, they may be competing for a starting position, so that obviously creates energy and hopefully creates confidence within guys.”
Wednesday’s friendly against FC Bayern Munich, gave us the first glimpse at forward Miguel Berry, who the club acquired from the Columbus Crew last week.
Midfielder Moses Nyeman impressed in his first start since March 5, and his fellow Homegrown, Ted KuDiPietro, capped off an energetic performance with a goal against the German giants.
A number of Loudoun United regulars made the most of some heavy rotation for the midweek friendly, including Abdoul Zanne, Dane Jacomen, Tyler Freeman, Gaoussou Samaké, Skage Simonsen.
“A lot of players, with Wayne coming in, know that they have a blank slate to work with,” Ashton said. “[They] know that every minute they go out there that they may be competing for a starting position, so that obviously creates energy and hopefully creates confidence within guys.”
With the arrival of Chilean winger Martín Rodríguez this week, there’s no telling how much of a role some of these fresh faces can play right away. One thing is for sure, the competition will be fierce, both within the locker room and in between the white lines of Audi Field.
Three names have dominated the headlines for CF Montréal (10-2-8, W-D-L, 4th place in the Eastern Conference)—Djordje Mihailovic, Romell Quioto, and Kei Kamara.
“Obviously they have some dangerous players when they break,” D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse said ahead of the match.
Mihailovic has turned heads this season, with 7 goals and 4 assists for Montréal. He’s been a force in the midfield and forwards Kei Kamara and Romell Quioto have rarely wasted his services.
Montréal come into this match following a 1-0 Heineken Rivalry Week victory over Canadian rivals Toronto FC on Saturday. After picking up a red card in the 81st minute, Montréal’s starting center back Kamal Miller will serve his suspension on Saturday.
All of that will be on the Black-and-Red's scouting report, but the focus won’t be on the visitors.
“I think for us really right now,” Canouse said on Thursday. “We’re just trying to focus on ourselves more so and make sure that we get our style of play and some of the philosophy that Wayne wants to bring in down...We know the opponent coming up, but we want to develop the new philosophy from Wayne moving forward.”
At halftime, the club will recognize our U-16 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Champions, who were led by head coach Keyon Khalilan.
Watch the recap of their victory in Frisco, TX and join us in celebrating their successful season!
In The Concourse
Saturday is Kid’s Night at Audi Field! The first 5,000 kids in attendance will receive a free D.C. United lollipop.
Temperatures are expected to drop before kickoff, but a heat advisory has been issued for those planning to attend. Fans will be permitted to bring in one unopened 20 oz. Bottle of water per person and can purchase bottled water from the concession stands for $2 when you pay with Apple Pay.