D.C. United fought hard, but fell 1-2 in a lightning-delayed match against the New England Revolution on Tuesday, August 25 in the club’s first match back at Audi Field as the MLS Regular Season continues in local markets.
Head coach, Ben Olsen stuck with the tactics that earned the Black-and-Red a clean sheet against FC Cincinnati last match. Russell Canouse slotted into a back three alongside Donovan Pines and Steven Birnbaum. Kevin Paredes, moved in-field and started in central midfield alongside Júnior Moreno and Felipe, while Julian Gressel and Joseph Mora started as the two wingbacks. Edison Flores and Ola Kamara played together up front to lead the line for the 3-5-2 formation.
D.C. United had a bright start and were able to create some good chances in the early stages. In the 15th minute, Russell Canouse picked up an unfortunate injury to his hamstring and had to be substituted. Injuries were one of the stories of the night for the Black-and-Red, as Edison Flores and Frédéric Brillant both went down with injuries in the second half, as well.
New England struck first in the 26th minute, as Gustavo Bou picked up the ball off a turnover and hit a shot from just outside the box, which snuck inside the right post. Moments after Bou opened the scoring, the match was temporarily suspended due to a 45-minute lightning delay, which was called in the 31st minute. When play resumed, New England took full advantage and doubled their lead in the 37th minute, as Teal Bunbury headed in a goal directly from a corner kick taken by Alexander Büttner. The two teams went into the half with New England leading 2-0.
D.C. United came out the stronger of the two sides and dominated most of the second half. Felipe started the Black-and-Red off on the right foot, hitting a strong shot from outside the box in the 48th minute, forcing a good save from New England goalkeeper, Matt Turner to push it wide of the left post.
D.C. United were rewarded for their strong play in the 72nd minute, when Ola Kamara slotted home a penalty, which was awarded after a VAR review showed the ball striking a New England Revolution player’s hand inside the box. In the 83rd minute, Scott Caldwell of New England was issued a Red Card for serious foul play in a tackle on Felipe. The Black-and-Red nearly equalized in the 91st minute when Julian Gressel swung in a terrific cross, which was met by the head of Ola Kamara and nearly found the back of the net, as Matt Turner tipped it narrowly wide. Despite the positive second half, the Black-and-Red were unable to complete the comeback and the match finished 2-1 to New England.
Bill Hamid had four saves in the match, including a great diving stop to deny Gustavo Bou in the 25th minute and a great kick save to deny a good chance from close range the 37th minute. His best save of the night came at the closing stages of the match when he reacted quickly and dove to his right to save a well hit shot to keep United’s hopes alive. 17-year old Homegrown midfielder, Kevin Paredes, in only his second career MLS start, had another impressive game for the Black-and-Red. He was all over the field, playing forward into the attackers often and getting up the left wing dangerously all match.
D.C. United now have three days to prepare for the Philadelphia Union who they face on Saturday, August 29 at Subaru Park. The Black-and-Red will look to build on an impressive second half Tuesday night and carry that momentum into their eighth match of the 2020 MLS Regular Season in Philadelphia this weekend.