D.C. United won 1-0 against Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in the first match of the inaugural Capital Cup at Audi Field. Felipe’s free kick goal in the final minutes of the match was the difference, as a United team featuring a mix of players from D.C. United and Loudoun United FC (D.C. United’s USL Championship side) found a way to earn three points in a hard-fought match.

The Black-and-Red  started with Jon Kempin in net and Steven Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, and Joseph Mora as the back three. Gaossou Samake and Griffin Yow played as the two wingbacks and Felipe Martins, Nanan Houssou were partnered in midfield. Yamil Asad, Yordy Reyna, and Jovanny Bolivar started as the three up for United.

The first half was tightly contested and neither side were able to create a clear cut opportunity. Jon Kempin made the best save of the first half when he reacted quickly to parry away a strike from an Alajuelense attacker from in-close. Griffin Yow found space just outside the box in the 37th minute but his shot was pushed away by the Alajuelense keeper. From the ensuing corner kick, Joseph Mora’s header from in-close was blocked off the line. The two sides went into halftime level 0-0.

The lone goal of the match came in the 87th minute when Felipe rolled home a clever free kick under the wall as they attempted to jump to block his effort. United’s defense held strong for the reaminder of the night and they went on to win 1-0. by

Tonight’s match was United Captain Steven Birnbaum’s first appearance of the 2021 season. The Black-and-Red made six substitutions in the second half including Chris Seitz, Kimarni Smith, Jacob Green, and competitive D.C. United debuts for Allexon Saravia, Kairou Amoustapha, Ted Ku-DiPietro.

D.C. United will look to lift the first edition of the Capital Cup when they face off against Alianza FC on Sunday, July 11 at 5:30 p.m. EST. The match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Washington.