Chris Odoi Atsem’s first career MLS goal in the 78th minute gave D.C. United a well-deserved 2-1 victory against FC Cincinnati on Sunday night at Nippert Stadium.
Interim Head Coach Chad Ashton stuck with the 4-4-2 formation that earned United a point against the Philadelphia Union in their last match. Chris Seitz continued in net with Frédéric Brillant, Donovan Pines, Joseph Mora, and Chris Odoi-Atsem in the back four. In midfield, Julian Gressel returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench last match. He was joined by Edison Flores, Moses Nyeman, and Yamil Asad. Gelmin Rivas and Erik Sorga started as the two up front.
The opening half hour of the match was balanced as both D.C. United and Cincinnati had chances to go in front. Chris Seitz did well to keep Cincinnati off the scoresheet, making three first half saves, including reacting quickly to a deflected shot to keep it from finding the top corner in the 34th minute. United found the breakthrough in the 36th minute when center back Donovan Pines found the back of the net for the second consecutive match. FC Cincinnati goalkeeper, Bobby Edwards, mishandled a free kick taken by Yamil Asad and Pines was first to react, shifting the ball on the end line from his right foot to his left before calmly slotting home. United went into the break ahead, 1-0.
In the second half, FC Cincinnati equalized in the 66th minute when Brandon Vasquez tapped-in a rebound after Seitz made an initial save on an effort just outside of the box. United pressed forward to get back in front and were rewarded in the 78th minute when Chris Odoi-Atsem scored his first career MLS goal. United won the ball high up the pitch after effective pressing from the forwards. Nyeman pounced on the misplaced pass and found second half substitute, Kevin Paredes on the edge of the box, who fired a shot towards goal. Edwards could only parry it away to his left, where an on-rushing Chris Odoi-Atsem was on-hand to capitalize on the rebound and put the Black-and-Red back in front with just 12 minutes left to play. Odoi-Atsem nearly got his second of the night – and his career – just moments later when he latched onto a long diagonal by Julian Gressel only to see his shot slide narrowly by the far post.
United defended well in the final minutes of the match and were able to hang on to secure their first win since September 2 against the New York Red Bulls. The Black-and-Red controlled most of the game and outshot FC Cincinnati 13-11, which marks their third consecutive match having more attempts than their opponent.
Homegrown midfielder, Moses Nyeman, showed composure and maturity in the center of midfield on Sunday night. The 16-year-old dictated United’s high-press and he helped control the tempo of the match. On the defensive side, Nyeman also worked tirelessly to win back possession and made key tackles in the midfield.
D.C. United will be looking for three more points when they head south to take on Atlanta United FC on Saturday, October 24 at 4 p.m. EST. Tune into WJLA 24/7 News, www.dcunited.com, and ESPN+ to watch the match.